Do you have obstructive sleep apnea? If so, it’s important to see a Boulder health care professional right away. Left untreated, sleep apnea can become life-threatening.
Does your bed partner tell you that you frequently stop breathing during the night? What if you sleep alone? Here are some signs that you may have sleep apnea:
- Loud snoring
- Awakening suddenly
- Difficulty staying asleep
- Frequently being tired during the day
- Waking with a dry mouth
- Headaches, especially right after waking
- Difficulty concentrating
Recurring lapses in breathing during sleep cuts off oxygen to the brain. When the brain isn’t getting enough oxygen, the heart slows down. When the person resumes breathing, the heart goes into panic mode to push the oxygen to the brain. Then the cycle repeats itself many times an hour each and every night. This stop-and-start action is dangerous for every organ in the body.
CPAP (Positive Airway Pressure) may be the best-known treatment for sleep apnea. But it isn’t the only one.
Oral appliance therapy (OAT), conducted by a dentist, can be an effective treatment for obstructive sleep apnea.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) has approved OAT in the following circumstances:
- As a first-line treatment for people with mild to moderate OSA
- As a first-line treatment for individuals with severe OSA who are unable to use CPAP devices
- As a combination therapy (using CPAP and an oral appliance together)
A custom-fitted oral appliance allows patients to breath normally during the night. A diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea must be made by a physician. If the physician recommends oral appliance therapy, he or she will refer the patient to a dentist who is trained in treating sleep disorders.
The advantages of an oral appliance over a CPAP machine include:
- More convenient
- More comfortable
- Requires no electricity
- Easy to clean
- May allow wearer to talk and eat during use
If you have been suffering from untreated obstructive sleep apnea, OAT can restore your health. The team at Gordon West DDS Aesthetic & General Dentistry encourages you to see your doctor soon, before your health is compromised.
If you have already received a diagnosis of OSA and would like information about OAT, call the office of Gordon West DDS Aesthetic & General Dentistry for an appointment or consultation. We also provide cosmetic and general and family dentistry.
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