Snoring & Sleep Apnea
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea affects the way you breath while sleeping, and can affect your personal life. Sleep apnea can stop you from having a good night sleep, which can leave you sluggish and unable to concentrate.
These breathing pauses usually last between 10 to 20 seconds and can happen hundreds of times a night.
The condition of sleep apnea can be caused due to any of the following:
- The dropping or falling back of the lower jaw while sleeping on the back, narrowing the airway and also causing snoring
- Rolling of the tongue backward into the throat, blocking the airway
- Excessively grown tissue of the soft palate, the posterior tissue of the roof of the mouth, which too causes blockage of the airway
The resultant reduced amount of oxygen entering the lungs and reaching the brains greatly impairs a person’s quality of life, causing daytime drowsiness and mental fatigue, mood disturbances and general weakness.
Your dentist can help reduce the incidences of sleep apnea depending on your individual case by the following:
- Advising behavioral therapy, which includes reducing the amount of alcohol intake that can relax throat muscles and reduce the amount of oxygen carrying air that enters the lungs and ultimately, the brain.
- Prescribing medications which lower the acidic nature of blood due to low oxygen, encouraging respiration and allowing more oxygen to reach the brain.
- Providing Oral Appliance Therapy which involves using customized oral appliances such as mandibular splits. These keep the lower jaw positioned forward during sleep, allowing adequate air to enter the airway and preventing the blockage of the throat.
- Oral surgery is the last resort option for those with an excessively overgrown soft palate or other overgrown oral tissue that compromises the airway during sleep.