I snore do I have sleep apnea?
Frequent, loud snoring may can be a sign of sleep apnea, a serious health disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts as you sleep. However, not everyone who snores has sleep apnea. Plus, not everyone who has sleep apnea snores. One subjective indication is how you feel during the day. Normal snoring does not interfere with the quality of your sleep as much as sleep apnea does. Thus, you are less likely to suffer from extreme fatigue and sleepiness during the day if you have simple snoring as opposed to obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
However, snoring could be more than annoying – it could be a danger to your health. The only way to know for sure if you have sleep apnea is to have a sleep test.
What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a condition that affects the way you breathe while you are sleeping. In untreated sleep apnea, breathing is briefly interrupted or stopped. The culprits to the blockage of air to the lungs is the tongue and soft tissue of the neck occluding the trachea. The stoppage of breathing typically last between 10 to 20 seconds and can occur up to hundreds of times a night.
How does an oral appliance for sleep apnea work?
The oral sleep appliance treats obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) by advancing the lower jaw downward and forward. This motion keeps the airways open. The appliance is individually made for each patient to ensure a custom fit. The oral appliance consists of upper and lower splint that cover your teeth and will be titrated to advance your lower jaw throughout the treatment process. As your jaw moves forward it opens the airway allowing you to breathe easier and sleep more comfortably for longer periods of time, helping you to reach deep, REM sleep.
What are their side effects or complications from wearing an oral device for sleep apnea?
With any medical treatment, there are possible complications or side effects to dental sleep therapy. Considering the well-documented health risks of leaving obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) untreated, most of the side effects an oral appliance are considered minor. Most patient’s side effects will subside after the first week or two. The three primary side effects are tooth discomfort, TMJ (jaw joint) or muscular discomfort, and tooth movement or bite changes. Although other minor complications are possible, like salivation changes and dry lips.
- Tooth discomfort is the most probable complication of oral appliance therapy. Yet, it is also generally the least concerning. Oral appliances can put pressure on the teeth and may cause temporary soreness. If this does occur it can often be easily alleviated by adjustment of the oral device by Dr. Nugent. Studies show that there is no evidence of long term tooth discomfort with properly fitted dental sleep devices.
- Oral appliances work by moving the lower jaw forward to open the throat and open the collapsed airway. Due to the forward positioning of the jaw, there is a risk of TMJ (jaw joint) muscle discomfort. Dr. Nugent’s oral appliances are adjustable, so each device can be adjusted progressively to help achieve advancement with minimal discomfort. Long term muscle discomfort is rare. Short term discomfort is usually treated by adjusting the dental device to a more comfortable setting. Some patients with existing TMJ (jaw joint) problems may not to be able wear dental devices, while other patients with TMJ (jaw joint) problems may actually improve their jaw problems by wearing a dental device.
- Oral appliances are custom fit to your mouth and consists of an upper and lower splint that cover your teeth. Due to the devices fit, there are forces placed on the teeth and on the. These forces can cause teeth to move slightly, or the forces can cause the jaw to be re-positioned which can change your bite. There are recommended jaw exercises that you can use for a few minutes each morning after wearing the dental sleep device that will help reset your bite. Furthermore, Dr. Nugent will make you a morning aligner to combat any potential complications. Speak with your sleep dentist for more information on exercises suitable for your treatment.
In spite of the the above described side effects, obstructive sleep apnea poses serious health risks and increased incidence of death. OSA disrupts normal sleep patterns, reduces normal blood oxygen levels, and can result in excessive daytime sleepiness, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, stroke, and heart attack.
Call our Pasadena Texas Sleep Office today at 832-487-0647 today to see how we can prevent snoring and screen you for Obstructive Sleep Apnea.