30 Quaker Farms Rd., Southbury, CT 06488 (203) 264-4351
497 Main St., Ansonia, CT 06401 (203) 735-4701
Obstructive Sleep Apnea or OSA is a condition which occurs while sleeping, when the tongue and soft tissues of the throat collapse and completely block your airway thus preventing breathing. After a period of time the brain recognizes the lack of oxygen causing a partial arousal from sleep and stimulating the throat muscles to contract, thus opening the airway. This happens many times during the night causing reduced oxygen levels in the blood and very fragmented sleep.
Why should I be concerned about sleep apnea?
Up to 50 percent of sleep apnea patients have high blood pressure. Sleep apnea patients also have an increased risk for heart attack, stroke, diabetes, obesity, and headaches. Most patients with sleep apnea also suffer from daytime sleepiness which can lead to work and driving related accidents; poor work performance; and moodiness. Approximately 18 million people suffer from sleep apnea.
Since OSA is a serious medical condition, it must be diagnosed by a trained sleep physician. After being screened by your dentist for sleep apnea, he will refer you to a sleep physician for consultation and evaluation. The sleep physician will then arrange for an overnight sleep study, called a Polysomnogram (PSG). The physician will review the results of the PSG and determine if you have Obstructive Sleep Apnea and its severity.
Treatment options include CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure), oral appliances, behavioral modifications and surgery. If you have mild to moderate sleep apnea, an oral appliance can be a first option for treatment. If you are diagnosed with severe OSA, then the treatment of choice is CPAP. However, not everyone is capable of wearing CPAP and for those individuals an oral appliance is also an option. Behaviorally, loss of weight; cessation of smoking; and sleep position can also help reduce your level of sleep apnea. Finally, in appropriate situations, surgery, such as tonsillectomy or correction of a deviated septum can help reduce your level of sleep apnea.
Oral appliance therapy involves the selection, fitting and use of a specially designed oral appliance that is worn during sleep much like an orthodontic retainer or a sports mouth- guard. The oral appliance works by repositioning the lower jaw and tongue in a forward position, thus helping to maintain an open airway.
If you or someone you know thinks they may have sleep apnea or just wants help with a snoring problem, please call our office and set up a no charge consultation visit. Or visit the website of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine at www.aadsm.org
For more information on Cosmetic Dentistry in the Ansonia and Southbury, CT area call Southern Connecticut Dental Group, at (203) 735-4701 or (203) 264-4351!