Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) occurs when your muscles relax during sleep, allowing soft tissue to collapse and block your airway. This can cause you to stop breathing for anywhere from a few seconds to almost a minute at a time. These breathing pauses are followed by brief awakenings that disturb your sleep – even if you don’t realize it!
Symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea include loud or frequent snoring or silent pauses in breathing and choking or gasping sounds. Other common symptoms include:
Obstructive sleep apnea must be diagnosed by a doctor, so you should ask your primary care doctor for a sleep evaluation. Your primary care doctor may provide a diagnosis or may refer you to a doctor who specializes in treating sleep problems. To find out if you have OSA, your doctor or the sleep specialist will complete a sleep evaluation. This may involve either an overnight sleep test at a sleep center or a home sleep apnea test (HSAT). A sleep specialist will interpret the data from your sleep test. The information from the evaluation and the sleep test results will be used to determine if you have OSA.
If you are diagnosed with OSA, your doctor will discuss treatment options with you. OSA treatments include continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy, oral appliance therapy (OAT), or surgery. CPAP therapy is a very common treatment for OSA, but OAT is also an effective treatment option. If you and your doctor decide that OAT is the best treatment option for you, your doctor will write you a prescription for a custom-made oral appliance.
OAT is an effective, non-invasive treatment option for snoring and OSA that fits easily into your lifestyle. An oral appliance looks like an orthodontic retainer and is worn only during sleep. It supports the jaw in a forward position to help keep your upper airway open, which prevents sleep apnea and snoring.
Dr. Jones, Syrbu and Amelon are members of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine, the leading national organization representing dentists who treat sleep-related breathing disorders, including obstructive sleep apnea and snoring. They are trained to provide OAT and can make custom-fitted oral appliances using impressions and models of your mouth. Patients enjoy it because it’s comfortable, easy to wear, quiet, portable, convenient for travel and easy to clean.
Treating snoring or sleep apnea with OAT can help you feel like a new person. You will find that your symptoms – and your quality of life – can improve dramatically when you remain committed to your treatment and use it nightly. Custom-fit oral appliances from Jones Family Dentistry can improve your sleep, restore your alertness, and revitalize your health. If you have concerns about snoring and sleep apnea, contact us today! Our team at Jones Family Dentistry is ready to answer your questions about obstructive sleep apnea and oral appliance therapy.