What is obstructive sleep apnea?

October 16, 2020 | Dental Blog

Obstructive sleep apnea is a disorder, while you are sleeping, it happens when you have one or more breathing interruptions or blockages.

The throat can close, leading to cessation of breathing. Apnea is defined as “a cessation of airflow for at least 10 seconds.” Obstructive sleep apnea causes people to stop breathing while they are sleeping, it can happen hundreds of times a night, sometimes even lasting for a minute or longer. Obstructive sleep apnea affects 25 million Americans of all different ages.

Typically, people with obstructive sleep apnea will snore heavily, then they stop breathing. These periods of lack of breathing will be followed by sudden attempts to breathe, often accompanied by a choking or gasping sound. A person with OSA will be partially woken up leading to cognitive sleep which can be the cause daytime sleepiness. Also due to lack of breathing, the oxygen level in the blood stream to fall, this can cause multiple medical problems such as:

  • Memory lossHelping complications of sleep apnea phoenix dentist
  • Depression
  • Drowsy driving
  • Medical diseases associated with sleep apnea
  • Hypertension
  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Coronary heart disease

Oral Appliance Device Therapy

Oral appliances are worn in the mouth to help treat snoring and OSA. They are similar to orthodontic retainers or sports mouth guards. Creating a custom device involves the selection, design, fitting and use of the oral appliance during sleep. The appliance attempts to maintain an opened, unobstructed airway in the throat.

Oral appliances work in many ways to help with obstructive sleep apnea:

  • Repositioning the lower jaw, tongue, soft palate and uvula
  • Stabilizing the lower jaw and tongue
  • Increasing the muscle tone of the tongue

Dr White, at Dental on Central is a sleep apnea and Oral Appliance specialist. He can determine which one is best suited for your specific needs by determining a diagnosis, treatment, and on-going care. If you would like to see if we can help you achieve a better nights sleep, schedule an appointment today!