Germantown dentists offer sleep apnea solutions
Most people snore at some point in their lives – in a certain sleep position, or from a head cold or allergies. For many, though, snoring is a chronic disruption for themselves and their sleep partners. It can also be an indicator of a serious health condition called sleep apnea. Keep reading to learn how the dentists at Dental Care of Germantown can help.
Understanding obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)
As an apneic begins to fall asleep, the tongue and soft tissues collapse into the back of the throat, partially or fully blocking the path of air from nose and mouth into lungs. Respiration becomes shallow, possibly ceasing for seconds or minutes. As blood oxygen levels plummet, the brain senses danger. It triggers a surge of adrenalin to activate your flight or fight response. You jerk, snort, or gasp into wakefulness. After a few normal breaths, the cycle repeats.
Severe apneics have 30 or more episodes per hour. This prevents the deep rest necessary for hormonal balance and cellular rejuvenation. The condition is linked to problems concentrating, obesity, depression, headaches, and other symptoms. OSA increases risk of:
- Elevated blood pressure.
- Heart attack.
- Accidents from daytime drowsiness.
Once a physician’s sleep study has determined the severity of OSA, treatment commonly involves CPAP for more severe cases. For mild to slightly moderate cases of OSA an oral appliance can be a more appropriate treatment. This device holds the airway open with a flow of air from a bedside compressor, administered through a face mask. CPAP is effective, but compliance is an issue, since most people don’t rest comfortably in this situation.
A mandibular repositioning appliance can be an appropriate alternative. Dr. Walley customizes the fit of this FDA-approved oral device. It keeps the tongue depressed and the jaw in a slightly forward position, improving airflow into the lungs. The appliance is small and discreet, about the size of a sports mouth guard. Slip the carrying case into your handbag or carry-on luggage to sleep well when you travel.
Many patients find full relief or significant improvement in snoring and OSA with oral appliance therapy. For severe cases, the repositioning device can improve effectiveness of CPAP.
Call (901) 472-7474 to schedule a sleep apnea consultation at Dental Care of Germantown to learn more. Dr. Walley is so committed to treating patients with possible sleep disorders that he is willing to do a free consult for anyone with this problem. We accept all Medicare patients as well.