If you suffer from poor sleep, find yourself frequently tired throughout the day, or have been told that you snore, you may suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). OSA can cause a lack of oxygen to the brain from difficulty breathing while sleeping, which can shorten lifespan and be prevented. Snoring can disrupt sleep causing a host of health consequences as well. Wentworth Family Dental is pleased to be able to help treat your snoring and OSA with a simple Night Guard that brings the jaw forward, opening up the airway while you sleep.
Your SW Calgary Choice for Sleep Apnea and Snoring Solutions!
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a relatively common condition that affects breathing during sleep. Sufferers periodically stop breathing properly (or sometimes altogether) during the night, making it a serious and potentially dangerous condition due to danger in the form of oxygen deprivation. Serious complications can result from oxygen deprivation as a result of sleep apnea, including heart disease, high blood pressure, sexual dysfunction, and learning/memory problems. Sleep deprivation resulting from sleep apnea can result in severely reduced cognitive performance, increased risk for vehicular and industrial accidents, daytime sleepiness, reduced immune system responsiveness, decreased productivity, and slower reaction time. While not everyone who snores suffers from sleep apnea, snoring may be a potential indicator that your airways are partially or completely blocked while you sleep and that you therefore have sleep apnea.
Snoring vs. Sleep Apnea
- Snoring is a loud, unwanted noise associated with breathing during sleep. Sleep apnea on the other hand, is a cessation of breathing for 10 seconds or longer during sleep. A person with sleep apnea usually awakens hundreds of times during the night, but rarely remembers awakening
- To distinguish between simple snoring and sleep apnea and sleep apnea related snoring, a sleep diagnostic test must be done either at home (i.e. unattended recording) or in a sleep laboratory (attended recording)
- Once a proper diagnosis has been made, a snoring treatment solution can be implemented.
Common Causes of Sleep Apnea
- Large tonsils or adenoids or other anatomical differences
- Shape of head and neck may create a smaller than normal airway
- Being overweight or obese (although many people with OSA are not obese)
- Throat muscles and tongue relax more than normal during sleep
- Snoring – snoring can cause the soft palate to become inflamed and swollen, which in turn can obstruct the airway
- Smoking or exposure to second-hand smoke
- Nasal congestion, nasal blockages, and nasal irritants
- Family history of sleep apnea
- Other physical conditions, disorders, and syndromes
Treatment for Snoring & Sleep Apnea
General dentists often see the associated physical symptoms of OSA, like wear on teeth from grinding and clenching, as well as the effects on the tissue of the mouth. Although continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy is the most recommended treatment for patients with chronic OSA, compliance levels have been shown to be quite low because the CPAP machine can be cumbersome to travel with, bulky, noisy, and uncomfortable to wear. At Wentworth Family Dental, we offer an alternative to the CPAP machine. In many cases, OSA, as well as snoring, can be treated with an oral appliance.
What is a Dental Snoring Appliance and OSA Appliances?
Oral appliances that treat snoring and OSA fit snugly over your teeth while you sleep and help move your tongue and jaws into the correct position to keep your airways open throughout the night. Made from plastic, these easy-to-wear oral appliances are custom designed to fit your mouth accurately and precisely. These oral appliances reposition the lower jaw by bringing it forward and/or by lifting your soft palate, to open the airway and prevent the tongue and soft tissue in the back of the throat from collapsing and obstructing the airway while sleeping. They are small, convenient to carry when travelling, easy to wear, and much more comfortable than the heavy and cumbersome CPAP machine.