We all know the importance of a good night’s sleep. However, when our sleep is disturbed, it affects our overall health and impacts our daily life. One common but serious sleep condition is called obstructive sleep apnea. This is a dangerous disorder that means a person pauses breathing during their sleep for 10 seconds or more, which is due to the collapse of the upper airway or throat.
How do I know if I have sleep apnea?
It’s estimated that 1 in 15 adults have obstructive sleep apnea, but most are unaware of this condition until the problem has become moderate or severe. So what are the symptoms? Most commonly they include:
Oral symptoms can be very similar to that of a TMJ disorder, such as jaw pain, or neck and shoulder pain. This can also include clenching, and grinding your teeth at night – otherwise known as bruxism.
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What are the causes of sleep apnea?
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is typically caused by the constriction of our airway in our upper oral-pharynx area (behind our tongue). Vibration of the tissues of that area causes snoring, but complete closure at times is Obstructive Sleep Apnea.
Sleep apnea can affect anyone, regardless of age, sex, and weight. Most people with OSA, do not know they have a problem. Many think the decline in their energy is due to age or other factors beyond their control, when in reality its usually highly treatable.
Sleep apnea can affect anyone, but it seems the risk is greater for those who are:
How can we help?
Dentists can play a large role in managing obstructive sleep apnea. As your family dentist, we can be the first point of call, because we often see patients more frequently than their doctor and can recognize the warning signs of sleep apnea.
Due to the large numbers of patients affected, we have created a dedicated treatment program which can be found at http://www.thesnorecentre.com/.
At the Snore Centre, you’ll find a more in depth explanation of this sleep disorder, how it is diagnosed, and what treatment is available.
One of the ways we can help you to manage sleep apnea at the Snore Centre, is through the use of oral appliance therapy. This positions the tongue and jaw to keep the airway open during sleep and encourages an adequate delivery of oxygen through out your body. This small custom fit device is a non-invasive treatment, and is shown to significantly improve patient symptoms. However, there are other alternatives, and we’ll assess your condition and then recommend the best treatment for you personally.
Diagnosis and treatment begins with a consultation with us and then a test called a polysomnography, which is usually done at home.
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