Pasadena, Texas Sleep Apnea:
Obstructive Sleep Apnea occurs when the soft tissue in the back of the throat repeatedly collapses and blocks the airway during sleep. These partial reductions and complete pauses in breathing typically last between ten to thirty seconds but can last for one minute or longer. These pauses can happen hundreds of times a night, leading to abrupt decreases in oxygen levels. The brain alerts the body to its lack of oxygen, causing a brief arousal from sleep that restores normal breathing. The result is a fragmented quality of sleep that often leads to excessive daytime sleepiness (ESS). Patients with OSA may snore loudly and frequently, with periods of silence when airflow is reduced or blocked. Then they make snorting, choking, or gasping sounds when their airway reopens. This cycle and happen hundreds of times a night. The patient never gets sustained deep sleep and they wake up in the morning feeling unrefreshed.
If your Medical Doctor has diagnosed you with sleep apnea, most likely the only method of treatment you were given was the CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) therapy.
Why the CPAP?
For decades, the CPAP has been standard treatment for sleep apnea sufferers and has been proven to be an effective treatment. Medical Doctors tend to stick with treatments that work, hence why they recommend the CPAP time and time again. Furthermore, until recently, insurance companies would not cover any other type of sleep apnea treatment, leaving patients with little to no options for treatment.
How the CPAP works
CPAP therapy works by efficiently ramming air into the patient’s airway by way of a mask that the patient wears while sleeping. This high pressure stream of air acts as a splint to keep the airway open during sleep. This, facilitates proper airflow and relieves sleep apnea symptoms. So, what’s the problem?
The problem with CPAP is that many patients do not adhere to treatment for reasons such as it is cumbersome, the mask causes irritations, patient’s movements are limited, the noise from the machine keeps their partner awake, the machine is bulky and difficult to take along when traveling. The fact is that CPAP intolerance is a huge problem. In fact, many CPAP users discontinue treatment after only a few months. This is not good because sleep apnea must not be ignored due to its huge negative impact on one’s health.
Alternative treatment for sleep apnea
Oral appliance therapy is a breakthrough in sleep apnea treatment. Every patient is different, and so are these custom-made oral appliances. Sleep physicians are relying more and more on effective treatment by use of these mandibular advancement devices. Oral appliances are custom made, offering comfort and convenience. Oral appliances move the jaw downward and forward and therefore keep the airway open during sleep.
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
It is important not to ignore your symptoms of sleep apnea.
- Snoring: intermittent with pauses
- Awakening with gasping or choking
- Apnea, pauses in breathing
- Frequent awakening
- Fragmented, non-refreshing, light sleep
- Thrashing in bed
- Daytime Sleepiness and/or fatigue
- Unrefreshed sleep
- Poor memory, clouded intellect
- Poor concentration and performance
- Morning headache
- Decreased sex drive, impotence
- Depression and mood disorders
- Gastro-esophageal reflux (GERD)
- Personality changes
- Irritability, depression, or anxiety
- Unintentionally falling asleep during the day
- Erectile dysfunction, low libido or sex drive
The good news is that you do not have to be bothered by using an inconvenient CPAP machine. Come and see us at our Pasadena, Texas dental office for a simple solution to your sleep apnea.
If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea and seek an alternative treatment, contact our office today at 832-487-0647. Dr. Nugent can assess the severity of your sleep apnea, and work with you to customize an oral appliance that fits your changing needs for sleep apnea treatment.