Do you or a loved one suffer from intense snoring, morning headaches, excessive daytime sleepiness or gasping during sleep? These could be signs of a dangerous medical condition known as sleep apnea. The most common form affecting millions of Americans is Obstructive Sleep Apnea, which is a condition causing a person to actually stop breathing during sleep. Obstructive Sleep Apnea is known to cause serious health conditions and can be potentially life threatening. The list of associated health risks linked to sleep apnea is growing quickly as researchers and physicians better understand its correlation to so many common illnesses. Treatment is becoming ever so important with the understanding that controlling our sleep breathing may prevent other health risks and help us age more gracefully.
So, why are so many people not treating their diseases properly or are ignoring the warning signs? Why aren’t more peopleseeking diagnosis and treatment? One reason is the lack of understanding about the seriousness of the disease and who can be affected. Another reason is a lack of knowledge and awareness of the treatment options available. There are several options to treat the life-threatening disease. You have a choice between continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines, surgery or oral appliance therapy.
For certain patients, Oral Appliance Therapy presents a less intrusive alternative for many sleep related breathing disorders. The appliance fits in the mouth like a mouth guard or orthodontic retainer and is tolerated well. Oral appliances can be extremely effective in managing obstructive sleep disorders because they position the lower jaw and tongue in a more forward position during sleep. As the tongue moves forward, the airway opens allowing easier breathing.Although CPAP therapy has been the standard treatment among sleep professionals for sleep apnea, no one technique is effective for everyone. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) is now indicating FDA approved oral appliances as a first line therapy for the treatment of mild to moderate sleep apnea and for those severe sleep apnea sufferers whose CPAP treatment has failed.
Obstructive sleep apnea and snoring are complex problems. It is important to choose a properly trained dentist who is experienced with oral appliance therapy and has a close relationship with local sleep specialists and physicians to ensure a team approach is used. If you or a loved one can not tolerate CPAP therapy or have put off getting tested for fear that a CPAP will be the only option, there may be help for you! For additional information, contact us at lake-dental.com or (318)445-4870.