Obstructive sleep apnea Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) is a serious, sometimes fatal medical disorder that affects about 17-20 % of adults with over 80% of them not even knowing they have it. Sleep apnea sufferers completely stop breathing during sleep, sometimes hundreds of times in a single night. Normal breathing ceases because the airway becomes obstructed, causing a serious reduction of airflow to the lungs.
Some signs and symptoms that you may have OSA include:
septum, retruded lower jaw
Studies have linked OSA to increased risks of high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes. People with OSA are 3 times more likely to be involved in a motor vehicle accident. Simply eliminating the snoring may not address the OSA. Children who snore should be screened for airway issues.
At Greystone dental clinic, we provide our patients with a take home sleep study kit as a screening tool. The kit is worn to sleep for 1-2 nights and then returned for the data to be analyzed. If a problem is suspected, you will be referred to your family physician or a sleep specialist for a definitive diagnosis. A treatment plan which may include lifestyle changes, a dental appliance and a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine, may then be customized to meet your specific needs.
There are a number of dental devices that can be used to alleviate this condition. The goal of most of these devices is to separate the jaws and bring them forward slightly. This slight repositioning opens up the airway, and allows oxygen to flow freely again. Wearers of sleep apnea dental devices report that they stop loud snoring, feel more rested in the daytime, and are much more comfortable going to sleep. Sleep apnea appliances work best on patients who are not significantly overweight. They offer a viable alternative to the CPAP machine that requires the patient to wear a mask and is cumbersome to take if away from home.