Oral Appliance Therapy for Obstructive Sleep Apnea in Longwood, FL
This condition is frequently misdiagnosed, or ignored as a harmless annoyance. Snoring almost always involves “Obstructive Sleep Apnea”, and this is a very dangerous condition that is potentially fatal. If you or a loved one snores loudly or stops breathing momentarily during sleep, you ought to have a sleep study done to rule out this condition.
Nocturnal signs and symptoms associated with OSA include drooling, dry mouth, sleep restlessness, witnessed apneas, choking or gasping and sweating. Snoring is also a leading cause of divorce.
|Normal Airway||Obstructed Airway|
Snoring occurs when your airway becomes partially blocked or occluded. The tongue falling back as we drift off into deeper sleep is a prime reason this happens. As the diameter or size of the airway passage shrinks, snoring is the result.
Sometimes, the obstruction is minor and the body continues to get sufficient amounts of oxygen with little or no harm. However, this should not be ignored as it could also be one of the early signs or a part of sleep apnea. Most all sleep apnea sufferers snore in between bouts of apnea, or oxygen interruption. A sleep study should be done to determine the seriousness of one’s condition.
Sleep apnea patients have a rough night and don’t even know there is a problem. In a given night, the number of times a patient stops breathing can occur anywhere from 30 – 50 times. It is no surprise that these individuals awake exhausted and spent each morning, as they’ve been fighting for oxygen all night. Sleep is supposed to be restful, not a struggle!
Here’s a short video demonstrating how this works. Notice the blockage of the airway by the back of the patient’s tongue.
Here is a list of signs & symptoms associated with sleep apnea sufferers:
- Impaired concentration
- Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
- Anxiety, including panic attacks
- Obesity, as well as difficulty losing weight
- Dry mouth
- Morning headaches
… and of course, chronic sleepiness because they don’t get a full night’s sleep. We can give you a Simple Questionnaire to help determine if you have a problem. Additionally, a Sleep Observers Questionnaire should be filled out by anyone who regularly observes the potential sleep apneic. Not everyone will score high, but if you do, it is a very good sign of OSA (obstructive sleep apnea).
Here is a list of other health problems connected to sleep apnea:
- Irregular heart beats
- High blood pressure
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Heart attacks
- Decreased libido
- Grinding your teeth at night
- Increased chances of developing both colon & breast cancer
- Diabetes & problems with blood sugar
It can also cause learning or memory disabilities, as well as periods of nodding off while on the phone or at work. Obviously, sleep apnea patients are at a much greater risk of having auto accidents.
People most likely to have or develop sleep apnea include those we’ve mentioned already who snore, or who are also overweight, or have high blood pressure.
A referral to a physician who specializes in sleep medicine may be necessary to definitively diagnose your condition. This usually involves an overnight sleep study.
What can we do?
We can make apneic patients oral appliances designed to help open the airway. We offer both the Thornton Adjustable Positioner (TAP for short), and the Somnodent MAS oral appliances. Both position the lower jaw forward, making it harder for the tongue to fall back and occlude your airway. Both of these appliances are FDA approved for the treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea.