Sleep disorders are much more common than you may think. According to the National Sleep Foundation, sleep apnea affects more than 18 million Americans. This figure is, of course, based on reported instances. Many people may not know they suffer from sleep apnea until their symptoms are reported by a sleep partner. This means the real figure could be much higher. If you think you may have sleep apnea, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible, due to the serious nature of the disorder. At Flower City Dental, we offer oral appliances to alleviate the symptoms of sleep apnea. An oral appliance can provide you with safer and more restful sleep!
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is characterized by the repeated cessation of breathing during sleep. There are three main types of sleep apnea: obstructive, central, and complex. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common form caused by the relaxation of the muscles in the throat.
Central sleep apnea occurs when your brain does not send the proper signals to your breathing muscles. Complex sleep apnea is a combination of both obstructive and central sleep apnea. If you have been told you snore loudly, or feel tired even after a full night's sleep, you may have sleep apnea. Other symptoms include:
Causes of Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the muscles in the back of your throat relax. When the muscles relax, your airway narrows as you inhale. In some cases, it may even close. This prevents you from getting enough air, which lowers the oxygen level in your blood. When this happens, the brain sends signals that briefly wake you up to reopen your airway. Most of the time, this is too brief to remember. This pattern can repeat multiple times per hour, all night, preventing you from achieving deep, restful sleep.
Sleep apnea is a common, serious sleep disorder that shouldn't be ignored. Here at Flower City Dental, we can rule out concerns with a sleep apnea assessment. The assessment typically takes place in our office and may conclude with a referral to a sleep apnea specialist.
Our office uses leading sleep apnea technology including instruments known as the pharyngometer and rhinometer as a way to test patients' oral and nasal airways. The pharyngometer is a tool that measures the oral airway while the rhinometer measures the nasal airway. Both send sound waves into the body's specific airways and measure the sound waves that are bounced back to help indicate the size of the airway as well as any issues located within. This unique technique is an ideal way to determine the location and severity of sleep-related snoring and breathing problems.
Options for treatment of obstructive sleep apnea includes personalized oral appliances that patients wear to help them sleep throughout the night as well as continued assessment and monitoring to ensure that these devices are helping in the long run. Positive airway pressure or PAP therapy includes a variety of devices including CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure), BiPAP (bilevel positive airway pressure), and automatic positive airway pressure or APAP. These machines work by keeping airways open and preventing them from collapsing during sleep, allowing patients to breathe easily.
How Does an Oral Appliance work?
An oral appliance is typically used to treat obstructive sleep apnea. It works by keeping your jaw and tongue in a forward position, which prevents them from blocking your airway, even after the muscles fully relax.
The appliance, similar to a retainer, clamps onto the teeth in your upper and lower jaws. In some cases, the upper and lower portions are connected with a tube that keeps your lower jaw, chin, and tongue in a forward position. With these parts pushed forward, the airway is kept open, allowing you to breathe properly during every stage of sleep.
Oral appliances are considered easier to use than other options, such as CPAP machines. To fabricate your device, we will take an impression of your teeth and gums. This ensures your custom-fit appliance will be precise, comfortable, and effective. It can also protect your teeth from the harmful effects of nocturnal bruxism (teeth grinding).
Schedule Your Consultation Appointment
If you think you may have sleep apnea, we can help! Call 585-248-2273 to schedule your consultation appointment today!
Multiple Locations to Serve You
317 Main Street, Suite 1000,
East Rochester, NY 14445
2765 Buffalo Rd, Suite #2, Rochester, NY 14624