What is Sleep Apnea?
Patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) have disrupted sleep and low blood oxygen levels. When obstructive sleep apnea occurs, the tongue is sucked against the back of the throat. This blocks the upper airway and airflow stops. When the oxygen level in the brain becomes low enough, the sleeper partially awakens, the obstruction in the throat clears, and the flow of air starts again, usually with a loud gasp.
Repeated cycles of decreased oxygenation lead to very serious cardio-vascular problems. Additionally, these individuals suffer from excessive daytime sleepiness, depression, and loss of concentration.
Some patients have obstructions that are less severe called Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome (UARS). In either case, the individuals suffer many of the same symptoms.
The first step in treatment resides in recognition of the symptoms and seeking appropriate consultation. I love mydentist® offers consultation and treatment options.
In addition to a detailed history, the doctors at I love mydentist® will assess the anatomic relationships in the maxillo-facial region. With a cephalometric (skull x-ray) analysis, the doctors can ascertain the level of obstruction. Sometimes a naso-pharyngeal exam is done with a flexible fiber-optic camera. To confirm the amount of cardiovascular compromise and decrease oxygenation levels, a sleep study may be recommended to monitor an individual overnight.
Treatments against Sleep Apnea
There are three types of effective treatments to stop snoring depending on your case. They are effective and have high degree of success for patients with respiratory problems or sleep apnea symptoms.
- Orthoapnea: Treatment with mandibular advancement device. OrthoApnea is a custom-made intra-oral appliance that is used during sleep. It is discrete, comfortable and effective. It produces and adequate breathing that totally eliminates snoring. No tubes or masks are necessary. It is removable and the patient can wear it and use it at home or at any other place.
- CPAP (Continuous Airway Pressure): The apparatus is simple and manageable. It generates an air pressure which is transmitted through a tube to a mask that fits to nose, or in some occasions to nose and mouth thus overcoming the closing of the airway and avoiding the respiratory pauses.
- SURGERY (Surgical treatment of airway): Other solution to snoring and sleep apnea problems is the surgery of the upper airway that can be beneficial for some people. For people with poor nasal stuffiness and nasal anatomical alternations, one of the above mentioned interventions can ease the efficiency of the treatment with CPAP and improve the symptoms.
OSA is a very serious condition that needs careful attention and treatment. Most mayor medical plans offer coverage for diagnosis and treatment.