We all snore at some point in life. The cause? It could be nasal congestion, poor sleeping posture, or after a few beers. While occasional snoring is normal, doing it night after night could be a symptom of another medical condition. Most patients with chronic snoring often suffer from sleep apnea — a severe sleep disorder that disrupts breathing when sleeping. Sleep apnea is more than just snoring and snorting— if left untreated, sleep apnea can put you at risk of life-threatening conditions like heart disease, stroke, and hypertension.
The good news is that sleep apnea can be treated at a dentist’s office before it jeopardizes your health. At A Brush Above Family Dentistry in Chicago, Illinois, Drs. Marcella Guzman, Philip Fidel, and Rosa Sinno treat sleep apnea using a customized dental device (oral appliance therapy). Our treatment is simple but works effectively for mild to moderate sleep apnea.
There are several forms of sleep apnea, but the most common is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). This sleep apnea type occurs when the tongue and other soft tissues in the throat collapse, obstructing your airway when sleeping. When the brain senses a low oxygen supply, it rouses you from sleep to restore normal breathing, causing you to snort or gasp for air. The cessation of breathing during sleep can be alarming, with each episode lasting an unsettling 8-10 seconds. These apneic episodes can recur as frequently as a hundred times in a single night!
Even more worrying, patients suffering from OSA rarely know it because it happens subconsciously. Most sleep apnea sufferers learn of their condition when their bed partner complains of loud snoring.
Unfortunately, snoring is just the tip of the iceberg. Sleep apnea often results in other unpleasant symptoms like:
Sleep apnea denies your body restorative sleep and the much-needed oxygen supply. This deprivation strains your major organs, resulting in several health complications, such as cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, stroke, depression, and Type 2 diabetes. Furthermore, insufficient sleep can lead to daytime drowsiness, posing significant risks to yourself and the people around you, particularly when driving or operating heavy machinery.
Most medical practitioners use a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) to treat OSA. A CPAP uses a mask to deliver a constant and steady flow of pressurized air into the airway. The pressurized air acts as a pneumatic splint, preventing the airway from obstruction when sleeping. While CPAP works, many patients don’t tolerate the treatment because CPAP can be noisy, cumbersome, and uncomfortable.
If you find CPAP uncomfortable, Dr. Guzman has a simple yet effective treatment to manage OSA. We use a customized dental device — similar to a nightguard— to manage sleep apnea. This dental splint repositions your lower jaw and depresses your tongue to keep your airway open throughout your sleep.
You must use your sleep apnea device throughout the night because you never know when the sleep apnea episodes will strike. Patients using oral appliance therapy report relief after a few days of use. Since OAT helps you get a good night’s sleep, you wake up energized and refreshed to confidently conquer the day.
A sleep apnea device is fabricated after taking your bite impressions, resulting in a perfect-fitting appliance. This dental splint fits snugly in your mouth, allowing you to breathe comfortably when sleeping.
The other benefits of a customized sleep apnea device include the following:
Have you had enough of obstructive sleep apnea in Chicago, Illinois? Don’t sleep on sleep apnea! Instead, please call (773) 840-0378 to schedule an appointment with our team for effective sleep apnea treatment.