Sleep Apnea is a condition caused by a lack of air passing through to the lungs during sleep; it is an episode that lasts for more than 10 seconds. This deficiency of air leads to a decreased saturation of oxygen levels in the blood, which results in oxygen deprivation of the brain and other bodily tissues, known as Hypoxia. In order to normalize blood oxygen levels, the brain instructs a micro awakening and commands the body to reopen the airways. The person wakes up for a short time and commences breathing, often noisily at first, and then falls back to sleep. Quite often, the person has no memory of these micro-awakenings in the morning. Sleep Apnea
During sleep, the muscles of the pharynx (part of the throat that sits behind the mouth and nasal cavity) overly relax and obstruct the airway, which is what causes the Sleep Apnea episodes. Such episodes can occur several times within an hour of sleep and any more than 10-15 episodes of Sleep Apnea within an hour is Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome. This syndrome divides the night’s sleep into hundreds of small fragmented mini sleeps, resulting in the person feeling exhausted as body’s systems have not had enough time to rejuvenate over night. The oxygen deficiency also affects a person’s metabolism, which is why an Obstructive Sleep Apnea sufferer wakes up tired, irritable and usually has a headache.
According to the American National Sleep Foundation, Obstructive Sleep Apnea syndrome costs the United States more than $100 billion annually. This is a very common problem, however it is not highly publicized, therefore many people are unaware of its existence.
When it comes to treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea, the gold standard is CPAP-therapy, which involves wearing a CPAP mask during sleep. Approximately 50% of patients do not like CPAP-therapy for a long period due to the intrusive nature of the CPAP mask. Furthermore, CPAP-therapy is not recommended for mild and moderate forms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea syndrome. So, what is the recommended treatment for this?
Sleep Apnea Dentists Can Help Treat Mild Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome
Sleep Apnea Dentists can help treat mild and moderate forms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea syndrome through dental devices, which can also be used with CPAP-therapy for more effective results. The dental devices are easy to use, are compact, effective and affordable. The main function of these devices is to keep airways open to prevent the Obstructive Sleep Apnea episodes. These oral appliances have been used in medicine for nearly 30 years and have continuously improved in technology over the years. The most significant improvements have been comfort focused, namely the appearance of the device and materials used in construction.