Oral Appliance Therapy
What is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)?
Obstructive sleep apnea is an illness in which the soft tissues at the back of the throat completely close off the airway so that air cannot flow into the lungs. This airway blockage can reduce the amount of oxygen that reaches the brain and the body. When this happens, the brain alerts the muscles in the airway to tighten up and unblock the air passage. As a result, a loud gasp or snort (and often times snoring) is heard, and then normal breathing begins again. This airway blockage and gasping/snorting happens many times
What are the effects of OSA?
Sleep apnea can affect your quality of life in many ways. Those who suffer from sleep apnea may experience problems including, but not limited to, confusion, loss of memory, agitation, depression, hypertension, diabetes, stroke, cardiovascular disease and even acid reflux.
How do I know if I have OSA?
The 6 most common symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea are:
- Loud snoring
- Periodic stoppages in breathing
- Significant daytime sleepiness
- Restless sleep
- Difficulty concentrating and poor memory
- Irritability and/or personality change
If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to see a physician or a sleep disorder specialist to determine what treatment option will be best.
What are common obstructive sleep apnea treatments?
Common treatment options for sleep apnea:
- A positional device is an inflatable, soft, lightweight cushion designed to prevent sleepers from rolling onto their backs.
- A Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Treatment (CPAP) unit is a device (mask & air blower) that provides constant positive air pressure to keep the air passage open during sleep.
- Oral appliance therapy is when a small, adjustable acrylic device that is custom-made to fit over the patient’s upper and lower teeth (much like a mouth guard) is worn during sleep. The device opens the airway and improves breathing.
- Surgery in the throat area or jaw.
The best type of treatment all depends on the severity of the sleep apnea. Those with mild OSA may be treated with oral appliance therapy, CPAP Treatment, or often times a less serious surgery. However, when sleep apnea is moderate to severe, a combination of treatments and/or more intense surgery may be needed.
At BrightSide Dental we offer Oral Appliance Therapy treatment with a custom-made sleep apnea mouthpiece for the patient to wear while sleeping.
So call today or contact us to set up a consultation and find out if oral appliance therapy is right for you.
For more information regarding the diagnosis and treatment of sleep apnea, visit these websites: