Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) occurs when the airway becomes constricted while a person is lying down (typically at night during sleep). The constriction is usually caused by the tongue falling back against the uvula and trachea which causes you to snore and more importantly decreases the flow of oxygen to your brain. Many times a bed partner will notice a jerking motion of your body that results from the brain sending a signal to the body that it needs oxygen and it needs to wake you up to breathe again to get the required oxygen. Some of the symptoms associated with OSA are:
- Feeling tired or lethargic during mid-morning or mid-afternoon. Feeling like you need a cup of coffee during these times to stay awake.
- Feeling like you could easily fall asleep if you sit still for more than 5 minutes or you get drowsy while waiting for a traffic light to turn green.
- Waking up first thing in the morning and NOT feeling rested at all and wanting to hit the “snooze” button on the alarm clock.
- Feeling “foggy mentally during the day or having trouble remembering things that used to be easy to remember.
- Weight gain or gastric reflux making you want to take a Tums or medicine to correct indigestion.
If you suffer from sleep apnea, it’s best to receive treatment as soon as possible. Failure to remedy OSA immediately can lead to a heart attack, high blood pressure, strokes, and even death. There are many studies that show that untreated or undiagnosed OSA can take 8-10 years off your life from the additional work of the heart making up for lack of oxygen.
Patients suffering from sleep apnea should immediately schedule an appointment with Dr.Gore to address the issue. There are treatment options for you. We often recommend oral appliance therapy first. A custom made nightguard helps to keep your jaw in the correct forward position to prevent snoring and promote proper breathing.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Patients may get a sleep study after they consult with the dentist to learn about the severity of their situation. From this information, treatment can be recommended. Typical options include a C-Pap machine that would be given from a physician or a nightguard is custom-made and dispensed from a dentist. The dentist will take impressions of the patient’s teeth that will be sent to a dental laboratory where the oral appliance will be made with the highest-quality equipment and materials. Once the night guard is returned to the dentist’s office, the patient will return to have their appliance properly fitted. The patient will visit the office weekly until the adjustments are “titrated” to give the best results for breathing during sleeping. After that, the patient is then required to do a follow-up sleep study test to obtain objective data that the OSA condition has been improved.
Patients will be given instructions on how to wear and care for their oral appliance to make sure it lasts for several years. The night guard should be brought to all future visits to the dentist, even for exams and cleanings, so the dentist can assess the wear of the appliance and re-fit for greater comfort. While proper care will help the night guard last for a long time, it will eventually need to be replaced to remain an effective sleep apnea treatment. It is important to have a sleep study done at least annually to make sure the appliance is working efficiently.
The cost varies in each patient so it can be discussed during the patient’s consultation. The cost of a night guard includes all visits to the office, impressions, fittings, and check-ups on the device. Our office will help patients communicate with their dental insurance companies to determine their coverage and out-of-pocket costs.
GET QUALITY SLEEP
Effective treatment of sleep apnea alleviates the symptoms of loud snoring, daytime sleepiness, and morning headaches by giving you more sleep. With a custom mouthguard, you can breathe and sleep better for better physical health and a healthier state of mind. You will feel refreshed and rested every day.
If you or your sleeping partner may have sleep apnea, please schedule an appointment to learn more about treatments. Not only will everyone get a more peaceful night’s sleep, but patients with sleep apnea are at higher risk for several medical problems, including high blood pressure, heart conditions, and obesity.
Dr. Rod Gore Main Office
Scottsdale, AZ 85255