Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is when your throat muscles temporarily relax. When this happens, your airway is narrowed or blocked during sleep, and breathing ceases momentarily. Because of this, your sleep becomes severely fragmented leaving you with insufficient quality of sleep. To gain control in your throat and to reopen the airway, you wake up. This may not be something you remember in the morning which is why you might be wondering why you are so fatigued. OSA plays a deleterious role on your overall health, including physiological and psychological distress.
Snoring is never normal. Snoring is associated with sleep apnea. However, it is important to know that not every person that snores will have a diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea. Snoring raises the risk for other serious chronic medical conditions.
Dentists are at the frontline in recognizing and treating sleep apnea. Signs of sleep apnea can present in the oral cavity and anatomy. Your dentist will screen you for sleep breathing disorders. If a diagnosis is made, your dentist will work along side other medical professionals to provide you with a customizable treatment plan. This may include the fabrication of an oral appliance.
Oral appliances are small, convenient, and comfortable. Patients generally adjust to wearing oral appliances quickly. Patients who cannot tolerate or refuse to use CPAP may tolerate oral appliance therapy much better.
Oral appliances are fabricated and designed on an individual basis. Your dentist will make you a custom fitted oral device. Once the appliance is delivered, professional titration, or adjustment, may need to occur to ensure optimal outcomes.
Although over-the-counter options exist, they are not recommended. Yes, they may cost you less, but over time they may end up costing you more by possibly complicating your sleep apnea. Snoring may diminish, but the apnea may still be present. Treating the snoring but not the actual apnea will have deleterious effects on your health.