Sleep Apnea


Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that affects many people. It can cause a number of symptoms, including snoring, pauses in breathing, and daytime sleepiness. If left untreated, the condition can lead to a number of dental and health problems. Fortunately, there are treatments available that can help improve symptoms, including dental appliance therapy, which can be effective for mild to moderate sleep apnea.

Types of Sleep Apnea

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

It is a common sleep disorder in which breathing is repeatedly interrupted during sleep. It occurs when the muscles at the back of your throat fail to keep the airway open, causing it to narrow or collapse. This results in decreased oxygen levels in the body and can lead to various health problems, like high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and daytime fatigue. OSA is often accompanied by loud snoring or gasping for air during sleep. Treatment for OSA typically involves positive airway pressure therapy, such as a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. This machine helps to keep the airway open during sleep. Other treatment options may include positional therapy, weight loss, and surgery to remove excess tissue in the airway.

Central Sleep Apnea (CSA)

Central sleep apnea occurs when your brain cannot signal properly to the muscles that control breathing during sleep, resulting in a pause in breathing or shallow breathing, leading to decreased oxygen levels in the body. Unlike obstructive sleep apnea, which occurs due to physical obstruction in the airway, CSA is caused by a neurological problem. CSA can occur in anyone, but it is more common in people having certain medical conditions, like congestive heart failure, stroke, and kidney failure. Treatment for CSA typically involves addressing the underlying condition and using positive airway pressure therapy, like a (CPAP) machine, to keep the airway open during sleep.

Mixed Apnea

It is a type of sleep apnea that is a combination of both central and obstructive sleep apnea. During mixed apnea, the airway becomes blocked, and breathing stops, like in obstructive sleep apnea. Still, the brain also fails to send the proper signals to your muscles that control breathing, causing a pause in breathing or shallow breathing, like in central sleep apnea. This combination of obstructive and central sleep apnea can result in more severe symptoms and a higher risk of complications. Treatment for mixed apnea may involve a combination of therapies used to treat central and obstructive sleep apnea, including positive airway pressure therapy, positional therapy, weight loss, and medication.

How do oral appliances help treat sleep apnea?

Oral appliances for sleep apnea are devices that are worn in the mouth while a patient sleeps. They work by holding the tongue and soft palate in place, which prevents them from collapsing and blocking the airway. Dental appliance therapy is often recommended as a first-line treatment for sleep apnea, and particularly for patients who are overweight or obese.

How can sleep apnea impact my oral health?

Sleep apnea can cause a number of dental problems, including tooth decay, gum disease, and bruxism. It can also worsen existing dental problems. By seeking out treatment, you can help protect your oral health in the short and long term.

How do I know if I’ll benefit from one of these appliances?

If you suspect you may benefit from dental appliance therapy for sleep apnea, call Distinctive Dental Care in Oswego today for a thorough examination. We’ll carefully assess your symptoms and determine if you’re a good candidate for this type of treatment!

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