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Oral Appliance Therapy for Sleep Apnea

sleep apneaSleep apnea is a disorder that causes people to stop breathing while they are asleep. Known as Obstructive Sleep Apnea, some people who suffer from the disorder, may stop breathing as much as 30 or more times each hour. OSA affects billions of people all over the globe, and if it isn’t taken care of or is left untreated, it could cause serious problems, even death.

Although there is no clear-cut reason why people suffer from OSA, some things could put you in the high-risk category.

You could be at risk if you:

• Smoke
• Drink excessive amounts of alcohol
• Are overweight
• Have a neck size over 17”
• A narrow breathing passage
• Are male
• Are an older adult
• Have a family history of OSA
• Nasal congestion

Although sleep apnea can affect people at different stages in their lives, chronic sleep apnea should not be left untreated.

Some of the symptoms of OSA include

• Snoring
• Breathing cessation
• Waking up abruptly
• Daytime sleepiness
• Restlessness
• Moodiness
• Depression
• Waking up with a sore throat
• Morning headaches
• Problems staying alert

The muscles in the back of your throat support your tongue, the walls of your throat, your tonsils, and your soft palate. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when those muscles relax, narrowing the airway making it difficult to breath, which could cause lower levels of oxygen in the blood.

When your brain gets a signal that you can’t catch a breath, it wakes you up so that you are able to open your airway. People with OSA may gasp, choke, or snort throughout the night, and because it happens so quickly, some may not even be aware of the problem.

The most common treatment for OSA is the CPAP or Continuous Positive Airway Pressure device, and although it does help people breathe throughout the night, most that have been issued the facemask and hose give up wearing it because it is uncomfortable and bulky.

Oral Appliance Therapy could be the answer if you have been diagnosed with OSA or believe that you may be suffering from a sleep disorder. My Centerport Dental Practice in Downtown Portland offers Oral Appliance Therapy, which could be just what you need to help you get a full 8 hours.

If you would like more information regarding OSA and Oral Appliance Therapy, I would love to see you. Call or click and make your appointment today.