What Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Snoring is not just an annoying habit. It can cause personal conflict between yourself and a significant other or family members. But it can also indicate a serious underlying medical condition called Obstructive Sleep Apnea.
So, what exactly is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA, occurs when your airway closes while you are sleeping. This results in loud snoring and frequent waking during sleep. Though you may not be aware of the constant waking, it can happen up to hundreds of times per night, making it impossible to get the regenerative sleep your body needs for proper organ function.
I’ve been told I snore, does that mean I have Sleep Apnea?
Not every person who snores suffers from sleep apnea, but loud and consistent snoring can be a sign. Other common symptoms may include:
- Gasping for air
- Waking with a sore throat
- Feeling groggy throughout the day
- Moodiness and depression
- Weight gain
- Dry mouth
- Inability to concentrate
- Teeth grinding
By addressing the problem, you can avoid potential health complications such as mood disorders, fatigue, and even heart attacks – in addition to allowing both you and your partner to get a better night’s sleep.
At Oakwood Dental, we assess your condition by completing a Sleep Apnea Questionnaire with either Dr. Jones or Dr. McQuigg. This questionnaire will evaluate your symptoms, and give us a score and risk factor of anywhere from low risk to severe risk. Based on your score and risk factor, we refer you to a sleep apnea center, where they will set you up with the equipment for a 2 night, an in-home sleep study. Once we have all of the results from the questionnaire and the sleep study, Dr. Jones or Dr. McQuigg may suggest an oral appliance to help address your sleep apnea.
For both sleep apnea sufferers and other patients who snore, oral appliance therapy provides a solution either on its own or, in some cases, in combination with CPAP (continuous positive air pressure) therapy. Oral appliances designed specifically for patients who snore or have sleep apnea assist with keeping the airway open by gently repositioning the jaw, tongue, or both to allow air to flow freely past the anatomy at the back of your throat.
After we have you fitted for your new oral appliance, we like to follow up by updating our records with a new sleep apnea questionnaire and sleep study. This helps us determine how well your symptoms have improved, or if we need to make any adjustments on your oral appliance.
Contact us at Oakwood Dental if you have any questions at 303-688-3860