Sleep Apnea Treatment
What Causes Snoring?
During sleep, the muscles and the soft tissues in the throat and mouth relax, constricting the airway. This increases the velocity of air flowing through the airway. As the air velocity is increased in the constricted space, soft tissues like the soft palate and the uvula vibrate, resulting in snoring. Excess body weight, heavy alcohol consumption and other sedative medications have been shown to increase the severity of snoring.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a common disorder that affects millions of adults. It is often undiagnosed, despite the potentially serious consequences of the disorder and it is estimated that at least ten million Americans have unrecognized sleep apnea.
Obstructive sleep apnea affects all age groups. Roughly, 40 million Americans are chronically ill with various sleep disorders, and 20-30 million Americans experience intermittent sleep-related problems. Falling asleep at the wheel of an automobile is possibly the most costly and devastating problem on America’s highways. Accidents in the workplace due to sleep deprivation are not at all uncommon. Fifty-one per cent of the American workforce report that sleepiness on the job interferes with the amount of work they achieve and two-thirds of adults report that sleepiness makes concentrating and handling stress on the job more difficult.
Diagnosis of Sleep Apnea
Sleep Apnea is a medical condition that is usually diagnosed utilizing a comprehensive history, clinical examination and a sleep study. A sleep study is usually performed at a sleep center. Our office is affiliated with the Institute for Sleep-Wake Disorders at Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack, New Jersey.
Treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Snoring
Obstructive sleep apnea and excessive snoring can be treated by various treatment modalities, which include the use of a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine during sleep, oral appliances and surgery. All treatment is focused on opening the airway passage in the back of the throat. The most conservative approach is the use of on oral appliance.
What are Oral Appliances?
Oral appliances come in varying designs and types and have been used in dentistry for many years for different purposes. Appliances used for the management of snoring and sleep apnea are similar in design to orthodontic appliances or athletic mouth guards. These appliances are designed to move the lower jaw into a more forward position thereby opening the restricted airway.
How Do Oral Appliances Work?
Oral appliances developed for the treatment of snoring and obstructive sleep apnea are worn in the mouth during sleep. These appliances aid in preventing the oropharyngeal tissues and the base of the tongue from collapsing and obstructing the airway. When the mandible is moved forward into a comfortable position, the tongue is automatically moved out of the airway. This can reduce snoring and help to control Obstructive Sleep Apnea.