What is Sleep Apnea?
Many people snore when the airway becomes partially obstructed by the tongue or esophageal tissues as they sleep, causing vibrations. As the obstruction worsens, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) occurs, resulting in episodes of breaking issues from short of breath to the loss of it altogether. This results in a momentarily roused from sleep.
Commonly, obstructive sleep apnea occurs in 10% of men and 45% of women below 65 and progresses with age to a staggering 70% of men and 50% of women over 65. Can you imagine waking up 20-50 times per hour? It’s no wonder OSA patients suffer from chronic fatigue and daytime sleepiness.
Health Risks of the Condition
Sleep deprivation can lead to numerous health both physically and mentally. From irritability, drowsiness, tiredness, to illnesses, individuals have a tough time going through their daily life. That’s not to mention the effects it can have on a spouse and the potential subsequent strain on one’s marriage or relationship.
But there are many other medical health risks associated with sleep apnea. Since the condition deprives the brain of oxygen, due to the lack of air intake, repeated occurrence of sleep apnea can cause high blood pressure, resulting in the possible damage of the carotid arteries on the side of the neck. This can restrict blood flow to the brain and lead to stroke.
A University of California School of Dentistry study showed that 21% of men snoring led to hardened blockages in the carotid arteries. Another study published in 2008 found that individuals that snore loudly had a great odd by 40% to experience hypertension, 34% greater chance of experiencing a heart attack and 67% greater chance of experiencing a stroke as compared to those that did not snore.
Treatment Options for Sleep Apnea
Unlike other teeth replacement options such as traditional bridges and dentures, dental implants can be quite beneficial. Here are the advantages of dental implants:
MILD TO MODERATE SLEEP APNEA
Dental appliances are the #1 non-surgical treatment solution recommended by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine or patients diagnosed with mild to moderate sleep apnea.
These appliances are custom-designed to stabilize positioning of oral tissues, prevent airway collapse, and may even increase muscle tone over time. Oral appliances are often very effective, with a 52% – 80% success rate, while also reducing bruxism (teeth-grinding) effects.
SEVERE SLEEP APNEA
A C-PAP or bi-PAP is highly recommended. These are machines that deliver a constant flow of mild air pressure to keep the airway open. Other treatments may include surgery of the nose, palate, and throat, as well as medications. Treatment would be based on an evaluation by an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist or sleep medicine specialist.
Give us a call and speak to a dental consultant to find out more about how we can help you get rid of sleep apnea.