Snoring is a problem that affects 67% of adults. It can disrupt the sleep of both snorers and their sleeping partners as well as lead to or indicate the presence of health problems, such as sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is when tissues at the back of the throat close off the airway and block airflow into the lungs, reducing oxygen reaching the brain and body and alerting the brain to tighten the muscles in the airway and unblock the air passage. This can significantly disrupt sleep.
Common symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea:
Sleep apnea is a health problem that can be associated with high blood pressure, heart problems, and stroke. It is important for patients to see a physician or professional sleep disorder specialist if they regularly experience snoring and daytime sleepiness.
Physicians and sleep dentistry technicians can use a sleep study to determine whether a patient has sleep apnea or another issue and needs treatment. The patient comes in at night for a seven hour sleep period during which the activities of the brain, eyes, and muscles are monitored.
Common methods of obstructive sleep apnea treatment:
Oral appliance therapy is an effective solution for most patients with mild sleep apnea and is usually the first line of defense before other methods are visited.
There are 3 types of oral appliances:
Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is the current gold standard treatment utilized by the medical profession for more severe OSA. The patient wears a tightly fitting nose mask which is connected by a hose to an air compressor pump that pushes air through the nasal passages to open up the airway.
Surgical treatment can be needed for some cases of sleep apnea. Laser Assisted Uvulaplasty (LAUP) is used to surgically remove the uvula when it is excessive and deemed to be causing the problem. Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) is used to surgically remove excess palatal tissue when it is deemed to be causing the problem.