Whether it is you, your spouse, bed partner or a friend, we all know someone who snores. Snoring is not only disturbing, but more importantly it can be a sign of a serious disorder called Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).
Snoring and your Health
What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder. It causes breathing to repeatedly stop and start during sleep. OSA occurs when your throat muscles intermittently relax and block your airway during sleep. A noticeable sign of obstructive sleep apnea is snoring.
Apnea is defined as “a cessation of airflow for at least 10 seconds.” People with sleep apnea stop breathing while they sleep, sometimes hundreds of times a night, sometimes for a minute or longer. This puts an enormous strain on the organs, brain and body due to lack of oxygen in the body.
Classically, someone with obstructive sleep apnea will snore heavily, then stop breathing. The bed partner will observe that the person struggles to breathe but there is no snoring sound. These periods of lack of breathing are followed by sudden attempts to breathe, often accompanied by a choking or gasping sound. The person with OSA will partially awaken in order to clear the obstruction and breath. This micro-arousal leads to fragmented, non-refreshing sleep which can be the cause of excessive daytime sleepiness. Plus, the lack of breathing causes the oxygen level in the blood stream to fall, leading to multiple medical problems.
Symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea:
- Loud snoring
- Choking and gasping during sleep
- Coronary heart disease
- Memory loss
- Daytime sleepiness
- High blood pressure
- Drowsy driving
- Erectile dysfunction
Diagnosis for Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Diagnosis is based on the results of an overnight sleep study. Doctor Nugent uses a Home Sleep Test as it is a simple test done in your bed at your house. The data from the sleep test is read by a board-certified Sleep Physician and a diagnosis is given.
What does Sleep Apnea sound/look like?
Treatment Options: Good sleep hygiene (it’s best not to sleep on your back), weight loss if necessary, and regular exercise are some helpful OSA treatments patients can practice on their own. Medical and dental treatments include Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT) and Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP).
Oral Appliance Therapy for Snoring and Sleep Apnea
Oral appliances can be worn in the mouth to treat snoring and OSA. This appliance maintains an opened, unobstructed airway in the throat by moving the jaw downward and forward. Oral Appliance Therapy involves the selection, design, fitting and use of a custom-designed oral appliance worn during sleep. Dentists are uniquely qualified to take impressions of the teeth and implement OAT.
Oral appliances work in several ways:
- Repositioning the lower jaw, tongue, soft palate and uvula
- Stabilizing the lower jaw and tongue
- Increasing the muscle tone of the tongue
Dr. Nugent is familiar with the various designs of appliances. He will determine which one is best suited for your specific needs. Dr. Nugent works with your physician as part of the medical team in your diagnosis, treatment, and on-going care. Dr. Nugent will continue to monitor your treatment and evaluate the response of your teeth and jaws.
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP): This is pressurized air generated from a bedside machine like a ventilator. Air is rammed down the throat to keep the airway open. Patient’s have to sleep with a mask on and connected to a machine. Patient’s experience many problems with CPAP therapy.
If you think you are suffering from snoring or sleep apnea, talk with Pasadena Texas Dentist, Dr. Nugent. He will discuss which treatment is right for you.
Call our sleep office today at (832) 487-0647 and make an appointment for a Snoring or Sleep Apnea Therapy consultation!