Sleep Apnea Treatments

Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that occurs when a person's breathing is interrupted during sleep.  

Untreated sleep apnea causes individuals to stop breathing many times during sleep, sometimes hundreds of times during the night. When sleep apnea goes untreated, patients will suffer from increased anxiety, stress and weight gain.  

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs in about 25 percent of men and nearly 10 percent of women. Sleep apnea can involve anyone, but mainly affects males over the age of 40 that are overweight.  

Physical traits common in patients with obstructive sleep apnea include excessive weight, large neck, and structural abnormalities reducing the diameter of the upper airway, such as nasal obstruction, a low-hanging soft palate, enlarged tonsils, or a small jaw with an overbite.

Obstructive sleep apnea is caused by a blockage of the airway, usually involving the soft tissue in the back of the throat collapsing during sleep. Some of the first signs of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) are recognized by the patient’s spouse. Many of those affected have no sleep complaints. 

The most common symptoms of OSA include:

  • Daytime sleepiness or fatigue

  • Restlessness during sleep

  • Sudden awakenings with a sensation of gasping or choking

  • Dry mouth or sore throat upon awakening

  • Intellectual impairment, such as trouble concentrating, forgetfulness, or irritability

  • Night sweats

  • Headaches

Symptoms in children are typically not as obvious and include:

  • Poor school performance

  • Sluggishness or sleepiness, often misinterpreted as laziness in the classroom

  • Daytime mouth breathing and swallowing difficulty

  • Inward movement of the rib cage when inhaling

  • Unusual sleeping positions, such as sleeping on the hands and knees, or with the neck hyper-extended

  • Excessive sweating at night

  • Learning and behavioral disorders

Here at Gentle Dental we provide patients with a take home sleep test that can be interpreted by a physician.  

If your doctor has found that you have OSA, you will be offered treatment options. An oral appliance for sleep apnea, which resembles a mouth guard, can be used to place the jaw in the correct position, preventing the airway from obstructing while sleeping and providing individuals with the sleep they need.



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