Sleep apnea is a common and serious sleeping disorder that happens when your regular breathing is interrupted during sleep. Snoring is common among patients with sleep apnea, but not all snorers have sleep apnea.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common form of sleep apnea, affecting nearly 30 million adults in the U.S. Obstructive sleep apnea is caused by a blockage of the airway, usually when the soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses during sleep. People with untreated sleep apnea stop breathing repeatedly during their sleep, sometimes hundreds of times. This means the brain and the rest of the body may not get enough oxygen.
Am I at risk for Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea can affect anyone at any age, although men are more likely to develop the disorder. Risk factors for sleep apnea include:
- Being overweight
- Having large tonsils, a large tongue, or a small jaw bone
- Having a family history of sleep apnea
- Gastroesophageal reflux, or GERD
- Nasal obstruction due to a deviated septum, allergies, or sinus problems
What are the symptoms of Sleep Apnea?
Tell your dentist if you experience a combination of the following symptoms, as they can be signs of sleep apnea.
- Loud snoring
- Waking up with a very sore or dry throat
- Occasionally waking up with a choking or gasping sensation
- Sleepiness or lack of energy during the day
- Sleepiness while driving
- Morning headaches
- Restless sleep
- Recurrent awakenings or insomnia
If left untreated, sleep apnea can result in a growing number of health problems, including high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, depression, worsening of ADHD and headaches.
What is the treatment for Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
At our Westminster dental office, we offer several non-invasive oral devices to treat snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. These oral devices shift and support the jaw and open the airway during sleep. Click on each link below to read more about our sleep apnea treatment options.
- Silent Nite® sl is an affordable device that is flexible, thin and comfortable and positions the lower jaw forward using special connectors that are attached to upper and lower trays.
- EMA® (Elastic Mandibular Advancement) is a removable oral appliance designed to both advance the mandible and open the bite to allow for less restricted airflow during sleep.
- dreamTAPTM is a removable oral device that holds the lower jaw in a forward position and results in more tongue space for the patient. Three hook sizes offer increased range of adjustment and an adjustment key enables the patient to modify the lower jaw’s protrusion until a comfortable, effective position is achieved.