Have you ever had complaints that you snore loudly? Do you drift through the day in a haze because you’re still tired, even after a full night of sleep? These symptoms make life harder for you and your loved ones, and they could be indicative of a disorder called sleep apnea. At Aesthetic Dentistry, Dr. Gasper uses dental therapy with the SomnoDent MAS oral appliance to treat patients diagnosed with sleep apnea.
The word “apnea” literally means “without breath.”Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common form of the condition, which is characterized by a restriction in the airway that impedes breathing. Sufferers stop breathing for several seconds or a minute at a time, and these episodes occur repeatedly during the night. Usually, the airway blockage is due to throat muscles relaxing and collapsing, but other causes include an abnormally large uvula, a poorly developed lower jaw, or a deviated septum.
Patients with sleep apnea are unaware that they have experienced episodes of suspended breathing during sleep. The brain signals the body to resume normal breathing after oxygen saturation levels fall too drastically, and sleepers may start as if they are awakening, but they are never fully conscious. Because of this, snoring, daytime drowsiness, and irritability could be the only symptoms prompting you to seek evaluation.
Sleep apnea affects millions of people, and while it is manageable, dire consequences to your health could occur if it’s left untreated. An increased risk of stroke, heart disease, and memory loss are just a few of the detrimental side effects of sleep apnea if it's left unaddressed.