While the preferred method for treating obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the CPAP machine, an alternative treatment is oral appliance therapy. If your doctor has found that you have OSA, you will be offered treatment options. Generally, a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine is recommended. However, for various reasons, the CPAP may not work for you. For patients with mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea, dental (oral) appliances that prevent the tongue from blocking the throat and/or advance the lower jaw forward can be made by your dentist. These devices help keep the airway open during sleep. At Vacca Family Dentistry, we have the expertise and experience required to create an effective oral appliance for this purpose. Together with your sleep physician, we work together to determine if this treatment is best for you. Sleep is a critical component of your overall health and well-being. If you think you may have sleep apnea, let us hear from you.
Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common form of sleep apnea. It is characterized by frequent pauses in breathing while asleep, and occurs when the muscles in the back of the throat relax, blocking the airway. The most obvious and common sign sleep apnea is loud snoring; however not everyone who snores is diagnosed with OSA.
Often the first signs of OSA such as snoring or grasping for air during sleep, are recognized not by the patient, but by the bed partner. However, there are other key signs and symptoms to be aware of, including:
Obstructive sleep apnea is seen in all age groups, but the frequency and risks increase with age and obesity. Patients who don’t properly treat their sleep apnea have an increased risk of vehicular accidents, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression, stroke and more.
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