Approximately 25 million adults in the U.S. have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which can cause them to stop breathing hundreds of times a night for anywhere from a few seconds to more than a minute. OSA is a chronic condition that occurs when your muscles relax during sleep, allowing soft tissue to collapse and block the airway. As a result, repeated breathing pauses occur, which often reduce your oxygen levels. These breathing pauses are followed by brief awakenings that disturb your sleep.
Common signs of OSA include snoring and gasping or choking sounds during sleep. Like snoring, OSA is more common in men, but it can occur in women too, especially during and after menopause. Having excess body weight, a narrow airway or misaligned jaw all increase the risk of OSA.
Snoring is a sound that occurs during sleep when soft tissue in the upper airway vibrates as you breathe. Snoring is extremely common in men, but also occurs frequently in women, especially during pregnancy and after menopause. Obesity, nasal obstruction, alcohol and smoking all increase the risk of snoring.
The sound of snoring tends to be the most disturbing to a bed partner or roommate, but loud snoring can wake the person who snores, too. Loud and frequent snoring is a common sign of obstructive sleep apnea.
Oral Appliance Therapy
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine recommend that sleep physicians consider prescription of oral appliances, rather than no treatment, for adult patients with obstructive sleep apnea who are intolerant of CPAP therapy or prefer alternate therapy.
Research shows that oral appliance therapy is an effective treatment option for snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. An oral appliance is worn in the mouth only while you sleep. Oral appliances support your jaw in a forward position to help maintain and open upper airway. Many patients consider an oral appliance to be more comfortable to wear than PAP mask. Oral appliances are also quiet, portable, and easy to care for.
Oral appliances are recommended for patients who:
• have mild to moderate OSA
• prefer oral appliances to CPAP
• do not respond to CPAP
• are not appropriate candidates for CPAP
• fail treatment attempts with CPAP or treatment with behavorial measures such as weight loss or sleep position changes
Oral appliances are great for patients that travel often or enjoy outdoor activities. Oral appliance therapy is covered by many medical insurance plans, so contact us today to find out if you're eligible. Our team can help you finally get the great night's sleep that you deserve.