What is Sleep Apnea?sleep apnea diagram

Sleep apnea or obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a common sleeping disorder where your breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep. General symptoms that could show you are suffering from sleep apnea are loud snoring, daytime sleepiness, and restless sleep. Starting and stopping of breathing during sleep is caused by a blocked airway.

Causes of Sleep Apnea

Having a blocked airway is a sign that your airway is narrow and that you lack the ability to relax the soft tissue at the back of your throat. Having a narrow airway can be common in people whose jaws didn’t fully develop during childhood. While sleep apnea can happen to anyone, certain risk factors would be more likely to develop sleep apnea. These risk factors include gender, anatomy, age, smoking, obesity, and genetics.

Sleep Apnea Treatment

Having a good night’s sleep is essential for health and growth. If you are suffering from sleep apnea, it’s important to act fast to find what treatment would work best for you. Generally sleep apnea is diagnosed by your general physician, and depending on their recommendation you could be prescribed a non-invasive treatment. Non-invasive treatments available are the CPAP (contagious positive airway path) machine or an oral appliance.

CPAP Machine, once prescribed, is used to continuously blow air down your throat during sleep, causing your soft tissue to expand and let air enter. The CPAP is a great way to help you breathe during sleep, but it doesn’t change the size of the airway, which is the main cause of sleep apnea.

sleep apnea appliance

Dental Sleep Apnea Appliance, when worn is used to put slight pressure on the jaws to open up the airway. This is a very effective solution and some appliances can have a long-lasting effect.
Oral Surgery is also available for patients suffering from sleep apnea to fix the problem long term. Although this is a long term solution, the procedure is fairly invasive and costly.

Here at Prairie Hawk Dental, we are dedicated to helping the people of Castle Rock stay healthy. If you or a family member is suffering from sleep apnea and would like to learn more about the options available, please give us a call to make an appointment!