Snoring is no laughing matter!
We’ve all been woken up or been kept awake by people who snore. Snoring during sleep is a fact of life: it happens and is annoying to most people. But how many of us have actually thought of snoring as a potentially fatal condition?
Snoring can often be a sign of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), an extremely serious health condition, which undiagnosed and untreated, can cause headaches, memory problems, depression, high blood pressure and with this heart problems, including stroke, heart attacks, and ultimately heart failure.
According to the American Sleep Apnea Association, sleep apnea occurs when people stop breathing repeatedly throughout the night. This stoppage in breathing can last for as long as 60 seconds. When the brain realizes that it needs air, it sends panic signals to the body to wake it up.
Most sleep disorders can be diagnosed and treated successfully.
Who is most at risk for sleep apnea?
The age group that is most at risk for sleep apnea is overweight men over the age of 40. But they aren’t the only people that can be affected by this condition. In fact, children and young adults can also be at-risk. If children have over-sized tonsils or adenoids, this can severely block their airway during sleep.
If sleep apnea is left untreated in children it can lead to learning problems, developmental problems, and even a failure to grow. This is on top of the heart problems that it poses for older people with the disorder.
Diagnosis & Treatment
A complete dental history, a screening exam and diagnostic test are essential. Referral to a sleep centre for a medical assessment and study is also necessary. The exam may include:
Evaluation of the head, neck, facial area and supporting structures
- Checking the upper airway for obstruction
- A TMJ disorder evaluation to establish the ideal jaw position
- Tomogram & X-rays
- Diagnostic models
- Overnight sleep study
With so many advances in the dental field, Dr. Vo is now able to conservatively and successfully treat mild to moderate sleep apnea cases. If your oral evaluation reveals an airway restriction due to chronically enlarged tonsils, tong or a soft palate abnormality, an oral sleep appliance can be a successful treatment.
Airway sleep appliances are light and easy to wear. They fit over your teeth and move the lower jaw forward and downward to open up the airway during sleep. This prevents the airway from collapsing by creating extra airway space.
Most sleep appliances are made of acrylic much like an athletic mouth guard or orthodontic appliance. The most common oral device is the Mandibular Repositioning Appliance.
If you or someone you love suffers from sleep problems, we can help. Contact our office today for an assessment!