Loud snoring can be an annoyance to both you and your loved ones. Many a family vacation has been interrupted by the loud sounds of dad’s (or mom’s) snoring, and even residing in the same room can be problematic for couples with one loud snorer. Unfortunately, snoring can sometimes be a symptom of a much more critical underlying health condition, Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). Fortunately, it is possible to treat OSA, helping to improve a person’s sleep, and his or her overall quality of life. If you could be struggling with sleep apnea, now is a great time to learn how your dentist might be able to help.
Common Warning Signs of Obstructive Sleep Apnea
OSA is a condition that occurs when the airway becomes blocked as one sleeps, often leading to anywhere from dozens to hundreds of momentarily pauses in breathing over the course of a night’s sleep. This can cause a person to wake so briefly he or she may not realize there is even a problem, yet the side effects of OSA can be far-reaching.
Patients report experiencing a wide range of symptoms caused by OSA, from increased blood pressure, irritability, and difficulty focusing, to depression.
How Can a Dentist Help Improve Your Sleep, Health?
A dentist can often help treat OSA, by using an oral appliance to help keep the airway clear by holding the jaw in a comfortable yet open position. This appliance is similar to a mouthguard that might be worn during sporting events, or while undergoing orthodontic treatment.
An oral appliance is minimally invasive, yet effective for many patients. In more difficult cases, a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine may be better, as it can be used to pump a steady and adequate amount of oxygen into one’s bloodstream as one sleeps.