Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder that affects millions of Americans, but often goes undiagnosed. This condition is caused by blockages in the airways that impact the ability for an individual to breathe properly at night while they sleep. The result? Patients with obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA, wake up sometimes hundreds of times in one night and are unable to achieve the restorative sleep they need to function at their best each day.
What causes obstructive sleep apnea?
OSA is caused by a blocked airway. This may be due to excess fat in the neck area or the tongue falling back into the throat while patients sleep. The patient is unable to breath, and then wakes up—only to start the process all over again. These patients will often sleep for the right amount of time each night but still wake up feeling as though they haven’t slept at all. It is unknown what causes a patient to be more susceptible to obstructive sleep apnea, but with a proper diagnosis, the condition can be treated.
How is obstructive sleep apnea treated?
The condition is treated by avoiding the blockages in the first place. This may require patients to use a CPAP machine. The CPAP machine is worn at night with a mask over the nose. It keeps the airways open while patients sleep, allowing them to reach the continued, deep level of sleep they need to feel well-rested each day. However, this machine is cumbersome and many patients stop using them. Instead, the team at Galleria Dental Aesthetics encourages patients to ask about oral appliance therapy. With oral appliance therapy, a special mouth guard is made and worn by the patient at night to hold the tongue down, align the jaw, and keep the airways open in an alternative way. Most patients who use this method of treatment are often much more complaint.
Have you been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea and are noncompliant with your CPAP machine?
It is critical that patients treat their condition to avoid the consequences of obstructive sleep apnea. At Galleria Dental Aesthetics, we welcome patients who are unhappy with their CPAP to come into our practice for an evaluation and determine fi they are appropriate candidates for oral appliance therapy as an alternative. The practice is located at 1600 Tysons Boulevard in Suite #120 and can be reached to request an appointment by calling (703) 448-1020.