Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a sleep disorder in which a person stops breathing periodically throughout the night due to physical obstructions of the airway. These stops in breathing are often followed by snorts, gasps, or choking sounds as a person’s body fights to resume breathing again and generally last for about ten seconds. When you stop breathing, your brain needs to arouse you so that you can begin breathing again. This is why many patient with sleep apnea are chronically tired. Medical conditions that may be related to sleep apnea are stroke, heart attack, high blood pressure, diabetes, snoring and heart disease.
Although continuous positive airway (CPAP) pressure therapy is the most recommended treatment for patients with obstructive sleep apnea, some patients experience side effects such as dry nasal passages, skin irritation, difficulty sleeping, claustrophobia, and discomfort from pressurized air. Patients experiencing these problems may be good candidates for oral dental appliances. Oral appliances work by moving the lower jaw forward thus preventing the throat muscles and tissues from closing the airway. Sleep apnea oral appliances are also much less bulky, generally do not cause issues of dryness, and are usually more comfortable due to their reduced size.
Dr. Washington is trained in the fabrication and delivery of dental sleep appliances. If you currently have been diagnosed with mild to moderate sleep apnea and are unable to tolerate you CPAP machine give our office a call for a consultation visit with the doctor.
If you think you or your loved one have sleep apnea contact your family care physician or sleep specialist. They can diagnose you and if you are interested in a dental sleep appliance they can refer you to our office.