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Dental Sleep Medicine

Obstructive Sleep Apnea Treatment with Oral Appliance

Sleep apnea is a potentially life-threatening sleep disorder characterized by repeated pauses in breathing during sleep. The term sleep apnea is derived from the Greek etymology meaning “without breath”. Breathing pauses can last anywhere from several seconds to minutes, and happen as often as 30 times or more per hour. Ongoing disrupted breathing causes an imbalance between the carbon dioxide and oxygen levels in the bloodstream, as not enough carbon dioxide is exiting and not enough oxygen is entering the body.

Sensing this imbalance, the brain sends a message to the body, telling it to wake up to restart the breathing process. People with sleep apnea will partially awake as they struggle to breathe, and this is often accompanied by loud snoring or choking sensations. Because people with sleep apnea don’t always completely awake during the episodes, they are often unaware they have a sleeping disorder and it can remain undiagnosed.

The following symptoms can indicate the presence of sleep apnea:

• Insomnia or difficulty sleeping

• Loud snoring at night

• Waking up at night short of breath

• Snorting or choking sounds during the night

• Headaches upon waking in the morning

• Falling asleep unintentionally during the day

• Extreme drowsiness throughout the day

There are a number of dental devices that can be used to alleviate this condition. The goal of most of these devices is to separate the jaws and push them forward slightly.  This slight repositioning opens up the airway, and allows oxygen to flow freely again.  Wearers of sleep apnea dental devices report that they stop loud snoring, feel more rested in the daytime, and are much more comfortable going to sleep.  Sleep apnea appliances work best on patients who are not significantly overweight. They offer a viable alternative to Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP).

Snoring Treatment with Oral Appliance

While snoring is a common problem for many people, it can also be a sign of other major health complications. It is estimated that more than 80 million people in North American snore while sleeping, which not only affects the quality of sleep of the person snoring, but also the quality of their loved ones and other family members. Luckily, there is a way to treat chronic snoring.

Snoring can be the result of several factors.  Typically, snoring is caused by the relaxing of the muscles and soft tissues in the throat and mouth, making the airway passage smaller. The decrease in space through the airway makes it harder for each breath to get through, and when it does get through, the airway passage it moves over in the soft tissues of the mouth and throat causes a vibration that results in the snoring sound.

• Excess body weight

• Alcohol consumption

• Certain sleep aides or sedatives

• Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

If you snore at night, then a mandibular advancement device (MAD) may represent a solution and a better night’s sleep!  The MAD is a specially designed dental device that gently helps keep the lower jaw, or mandible, in a forward position, increasing the space between the airway passage and helping you breathe better so you can get a full, quiet night’s sleep.

 

Some devices also stop the tongue from falling back over your windpipe.  Dr. Renger will fit these special appliances to meet your individual condition.

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