Snoring is a loud, rasping noise that is made when the soft palate, uvula, and other airway structures vibrate during sleep. It may not be the most pleasant thing globally, but it does not have the same health impact that sleeps apnea does. However, excessive and loud snoring is often the first sign of sleep apnea that people notice.
What separates sleep apnea from snoring? With obstructive sleep apnea, you pause breathing while sleeping. Those suffering from sleep apnea will wake from this disturbance, gasping for air, and even choking. When sleep apnea is severe, it prevents the body from getting the rest and air, it needs to stay healthy and alive.
One or more of the following signs may be related to obstructive sleep apnea and should prompt the patient to seek professional help:
- Loud, frequent snoring
- Gasping, choking, or snorting during sleep
- Feeling sluggish throughout the day despite a feeling of adequate sleep
- Waking up with a headache
- Inadvertently falling asleep
- Struggling with remembrance topics
- Difficulty focusing
- Irritability, nervousness
The impact of obstructive sleep apnea on general health:
Obstructive sleep apnea is linked to other health and economic issues. In recent studies showed its association with serious health problems such as stroke, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, mental issues, and more. Because it causes daytime sleepiness, it has been linked to work and traffic-related injuries
Diagnosing Sleep Apnea
The process will start with a detailed health history and questions that target the patient’s sleep habits, lifestyle, and work issues. The dentist then examines the mouth, teeth, jaw joints, and facial muscles. Depending on the clinical findings, radiographs, CBCT scans, or MRIs may be requested to understand the jaws and the upper airway condition better.
Once there is enough evidence to indicate the presence of a sleep-breathing issue, a referral is made to a physician to prescribe a sleep study. The sleep study result varies from mild, moderate to severe.
Treatments for Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
There are many treatments for sleep apnea that depend on the severity of your condition. Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines are recommended in moderate to severe cases; these machines pump air into the nose, using air pressure to hold the upper airway open during sleep. Oral appliance therapy is used as a CPAP alternative if the sleep apnea is mild to moderate; these custom-made appliances advance the jaw and tongue to keep the airway open. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) has approved oral appliance therapy (OAT) as a first-line treatment for patients diagnosed with mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea. The AASM also recommends oral appliances for patients with severe obstructive sleep apnea who cannot tolerate or cannot use CPAP devices. An additional option for people with severe OSA is combination therapy (wearing CPAP and an oral appliance together) to help decrease the pressure on a CPAP machine, making it more comfortable to use. The opinion of the AADSM that our qualified dentists near you with training and experience in the temporomandibular joint, dental occlusion, and associated oral structures should fit oral appliances.
Other treatments include uvulopalatopharyngoplasty, radiofrequency ablation, and mandibular advancement surgery. In addition to these treatments, losing weight, living a healthy lifestyle, and sleeping on the body side reduce or eliminate the effects of sleep apnea. If you would like to schedule an appointment to discuss sleep apnea treatment options, please call Dental TMJ Sleep Apnea in Boca Raton, FL, at 561-391-5331.