Sleep apnea is a chronic condition that develops when the soft tissues in the back of the throat become lax and loose, causing them to descend into the airway when the body relaxes during sleep. As the soft tissues descend, they interfere with normal breathing, often causing dozens of minor interruptions in sleep during a single night. While many of these interruptions are not long enough to cause wakefulness, they can still cause significant medical issues. Some people may experience snoring and gasping for breath during more severe apnea episodes. Also called obstructive sleep apnea or OSA, the condition is more common among people who are overweight and among men and women with wide or short necks or airways, as well as those with high blood pressure, diabetes, or a family history of OSA.
Multiple clinical studies have linked sleep apnea with serious medical issues like:
Although many patients with sleep apnea snore, others do not. For these patients, symptoms including daytime drowsiness, feeling tired when waking up, problems focusing, and feelings of depression or moodiness play an important role in helping to identify the presence of apnea. Because sleep apnea frequently occurs in patients with high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease, it's important to ensure apnea is treated to prevent these issues from becoming worse.
Our practice provides comfortable dental appliances made of durable acrylic to gently shift the lower jaw or tongue (or both) forward so the airway is not blocked and breathing can occur normally. The appliance fits over the upper and lower teeth and can be easily removed for cleaning. They're also extremely convenient for travel and durable enough for use every night.
Feel free to email us regarding any scheduling or general questions!