Understanding & Treating Sleep Apnea

Sleep Apnea is a common disorder where you stop getting the proper amount of oxygen at night when you are sleeping. There are several reasons for a person to have sleep Apnea.

It is common in overweight people, men with a barrel shaped chest, and men in general, having a thick neck, large tonsils or a nasal obstruction. It can also come from a family history of Sleep Apnea or even GERD.

There are two types of treatments that are commonly used to help treat this disorder. A CPAP machine which forces air flow pressure and a dental appliance, or mouth guard. Many people experience negative side effects from a CPAP machine such as dry mouth, feelings of confinement from the mask on their face, sinus issues and stomach discomfort. If you have experienced any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor about trying a mouth device.

A mouth device can be used for someone who has moderate or mild Sleep Apnea. This is a device that you will have to go to your dentist to be fitted and will be worn at night to help with apnea episodes.

The most commonly used mouth guard is a mandibular advancement device or MAD. It looks like a sports mouth guard and will snap over your upper and lower dental arches and has metal hinges that make it possible for the lower jaw to be eased forward. The other less commonly used is a tongue retaining device that helps hold the tongue in place at night while sleep to help prevent blocking air flow.

Sleep Apnea affects us in several ways. It can lead to restlessness, day time tiredness, high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, and headaches. It can affect children as well and can lead to the worsening of ADHD and can affect their daily performance in school and other activities. If you are experiencing any of this problems or your sleep partner has witnessed you stop breathing, snoring or gasping for air, talk to your doctor and your dentist to figure out the best method of care.

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