Every night, millions of people in world suffer from snoring and sleep apnea, yet few are aware of the potential health dangers of these conditions. Snoring used to be thought of as just a joke or an annoyance, but it can now actually indicate a much more serious, life-threatening sleep disorder called Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).
The word apnea is of Greek origin and means without breath", which is what happens to these patients. In this condition, the soft tissues at the back of the throat completely close of the airway, restricting air flow into the lungs. With OSA, the amount of oxygen reaching the brain and body is notably reduced. This process of on-and-off blocking of the airway ultimately causes significant disruption of sleep, and may even result in other serious health problems such an high blood pressure, heart disease, or stroke.
Since OSA can also lead to other conditions, it may be deadly, especially if left untreated. Fortunately, obstructive sleep apnea is treatable, with options available for every individual condition.
To decide what treatment option is best, Various factors have to be evaluated. These include variety of the sleep apnea (which is determined from a sleep study), specific physical structure of the upper airway, and other aspects of the medical history. A competent clinician will assess the case and present treatment options, which commonly include the following
CONTINOUS POSSITIVE AIRWAY PRESSURE(CPAP CPAP is the present standard care for sleep apnea and is often times referred to as the "mask tube, and air pump. This approach has the patient wear a pressurized mask, which is Attached to a small pump that forces air through the airway to keep it open. Though it is the preferred method of treatment, patients may be intolerant and/or non-compliant to the balky equipment. This might be caused by mask claustrophobia, nasal congestion, a poorly fitted mask, an inability to breathe through the nose. pressure headaches, bloating, tube interference. or removing the mask in the middle of the night if patient is intolerant to CPAP, it may be an indication that a dental sleep appliance may be a better treatment option
DENTAL SLEEP APPLIANCE
Dentists have also come up with a solution for sleep apnea: a dental sleep appliance. This appliance, called a mandibular advancement device (MAD), advances the lower jaw (mandible), thereby relaxing the throat muscles to improve breathing and increase oxygen supply. A dentist will carefully evaluate a patient suffering from OSA by first performing a sleep screening and then referring to board certified sleep specialist. At the next visit, the dentist will take an impression (dental mold) and a bite registration from which an appliance will be fabricated. The appliance will be custom-made to fit the patient's mouth and come with specific instructions on how it should be used. At times, a sleep study with the appliance may be recommended in order to evaluate the effectiveness
Please note that one of the pre-requisites for this device is a healthy dentition to support the appliance. Because there may be other complicating factors, it a essential to go to a specially trained dentist who is qualified to treat OSA with oral appliance therapy. Not all dentists have the necessary knowledge of sleep apnea, so if a patient desires this treatment modality, it is highly recommended to ask a sleep physician for a referral to a dentist experienced in sleep apnea oral appliances