Sleep Apnea and Snoring
People with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) have disrupted sleep and low blood oxygen levels. When obstructive sleep apnea occurs, the tongue is sucked against the back of the throat. This blocks the upper airway and airflow stops. When the oxygen level in the brain becomes low enough, the sleeper partially awakens, the obstruction in the throat clears, and the flow of air starts again, usually with a loud gasp.
Snoring can be a symptom of OSA, or may occur without actual significant apnea.
Repeated cycles of decreased oxygenation lead to very serious cardiovascular problems. Additionally, these individuals suffer from excessive daytime sleepiness, depression, and loss of concentration.
Some patients have obstructions that are less severe called Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome (UARS). In either case, the individuals suffer many of the same symptoms.
In addition to a detailed history, the doctors will assess the anatomic relationships in the maxillofacial region. To confirm the amount of cardiovascular compromise and decreased oxygenation levels, a sleep study may be recommended to monitor an individual overnight.
There are several treatment options available. Many sleep clinic doctors recommend a nasal CPAP machine that delivers pressurized oxygen through a nasal mask to limit obstruction at night. This treatment is especially effective in the more severe OSA cases. However this may not be the best option for patients with mild to moderate apnea or snoring, or for patients who cannot tolerate the mask.
There is another option that is gaining popularity amongst patients due to it’s simplicity and effectiveness. This is the use of a professionally made Dental Sleep Apnea device. Dr Baldone has years of experience fabricating these for his patients. Many patients have stated greatly improved sleep from using these devices, as well as the added benefit of reduced snoring.
If you have noticed daytime sleepiness, fatigue, snoring, or worn front teeth, you may be suffering from oral airway issues. A consultation with Dr Baldone is a good place to start.