Each one of us needs a good night’s sleep to invigorate the body and refresh the mind. However, Sleep Apnea can interrupt a complete sleep cycle resulting in extremely fragmented and poor-quality sleep.
Apnea is a Greek word which means “lack of breath” or “want of breath”. Sleep Apnea is a kind of sleep disorder that occurs when you experience intervals or episodes of temporary breath cessation or interruption for about 10 seconds or more during sleep. With each occurrence the brain wakes up momentarily in order to resume breathing. Sleep Apnea severely interrupts your sleep and if left untreated, can lead to potentially life-threatening factors and serious illnesses.
Causes of sleep apnea may include the following:
- Issues with the function of the nose, throat and other parts of the upper airway
- High blood pressure
- Smoking, which can cause inflammation, swelling and constricting of the upper airway
- Use of alcohol or sedatives and sleep medications
There are 3 types of sleep apnea
- Obstructive (OSA): The upper airway is obstructed/blocked. As our body relaxes during sleep, the soft tissue in the back of the throat can also relax and collapse that blocks the upper airway causing episodes (periods) of temporary cessation of breath for about 10 seconds or more despite the effort to breathe during sleep. It is the most common type of sleep apnea.
- Central Sleep Apnea (CSA) – The airway is not blocked, but other underlying issues cause the brain to fail to send signals to the muscles which control breathing. It is less common than OSA.
- Complex-combination of the two.
It is estimated that more than 18 millions of Americans suffer from Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). 1 in 5 suffer from a mild form that is easily treatable with a snore guard dental appliance rather than a CPAP machine.
Symptoms of sleep apnea may include the following.
- Excessive snoring, choking or gasping during sleep
- Teeth grinding
- Sore throat/Dry mouth upon waking
- Morning headaches
- Chronic daytime sluggishness
- Brain fog and Irritability
- Fragmented sleep or Insomnia
- Unwanted napping during the day
- Drowsy driving
- Depression and fatigues
Are you concerned that you or a loved one may be suffering from the disease? Forever Smile Dental now offers a free online Sleep Apnea Risk Assessment Questionnaire to evaluate the quality of your sleep and your risk level for Sleep Apnea.
As specialists in dental sleep apnea and snore guard appliances, we want to ensure those with Sleep Apnea are properly diagnosed and treated.
To fully diagnose OSA, you will need to undergo an overnight sleep study known as Polysomnography. It is a procedure where your heart and breathing rate are measured and other body functions are evaluated during sleep. Forever Smile offers a convenient take home sleep study test that you can do in the comfort of your own bed.
Two most widely used treatment options for OSA
- Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) – Through a CPAP machine, a constant mild air pressure is blown down to your throat to keep your airway open during sleep. It has 3 parts, a mask that fits in your nose and mouth, a motor that blows the air and a tube that connects the motor to the mask. This option is recommended for severe Sleep Apnea.
- Oral appliances or Sleep Apnea and snore guard devices – These mouth guards are effective for mild to moderate OSA. This device looks similar to an athletic mouthpiece, to reposition the jaw (Mandibular advancement device)and tongue (Tongue-retaining appliance) — to prevent airway blockage and improve airflow.
Note: An oral appliance will not be a suitable treatment for Central Sleep Apnea since this occurs due to other medical conditions. Always consult a medical professional for proper Sleep Apnea diagnosis.
If you’re diagnosed or concerned you might have mild OSA, you may need to lose weight, quit smoking, alter the sleeping position or even wear a dental sleep apnea and snore guard during sleep. CLICK HERE to take our free online Sleep Apnea Risk Assessment Questionnaire to assess your risk level for Sleep Apnea. Following this, additional testing and monitoring will be needed to assess the severity of your condition. Forever Smile offers a convenient take home sleep study test that you can do in the comfort of your own bed.
Most Medical Insurances cover the study, testing and oral appliances.
If dental sleep apnea and snore guard therapy is the best option to help you, your physician will collaborate with your Dental Doctor to administer and manage the prescribed treatment and will have the oral device specially made for you. There are some downsides of using an improperly fitted oral appliances. It is extremely important that any Sleep Apnea appliance is created and fitted to your mouth by a Certified Dentist specializing in dental sleep apnea and snore guard treatment.
Sleep Apnea is a disorder that incessantly wakes you up a robs you of a good night’s sleep. A sleep specialist and medical doctors in collaboration with an LA Certified Dentist with expertise in advanced dental treatment for sleep apnea and snore guard can help you gain a better sleep and a healthier life.