Apnea is defined as a temporary suspension of breathing, so Sleep Apnea is the suspension of breathing during sleep. It is normally classified as obstructed breathing (snoring) with periods of silence, which is actually the absence or near absence of breathing. Breathing is obstructed due to a constricted airway, from one or more of the following factors, which a sleep apnea dentist can help you evaluate.
It is important to remember that oxygen is the most vital component to life, so those who suffer from sleep apnea actually stop breathing multiple times during the course of a night. Even if they only stop for a few seconds at a time, that can add up to dozens of minutes each night. Think about that. Do you really think it is healthy for someone to stop breathing for say, 15 minutes each night? If that was your loved one, wouldn't you be concerned?
If airway constriction prevents adequate oxygen intake, your body is signaled to wake up in order to breathe. People who suffer from sleep apnea often wake up gasping for air several times during the night.
Causes of Snoring:
When someone's airway is obstructed, noise is heard when air is being forced through a contricted opening, oxygen is the most important substance for life, so your body will do whatever it needs to force the air in and out, even if the airway is constricted. Vibrations of the air going through your airway causes snoring. The louder the snoring, the more the airway is constricted, which requires more force to get air through.
Risks of Obstructive Sleep Apnea(OSA):
Since sleep apnea restricts your airway, there are a variety of health risks that can follow, such as the following.
Anti Snore Benefits:
Non Surgical Cures for Sleep Apnea:
Even if you have anatomical issues which contribute to your sleep apnea, you can take steps to reduce it and help your anti snore cause. The next section discusses anti snore devices in more detail, since anti snore devices have proven to be very successful in helping to cure sleep apnea.
Anti Snore Devices:
Most antisnoring devices, such as PureSleep involve advancing your mandible (lower jaw) forward, called a mandibular repositioning device. As practiced in CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation), advancing the mandible forward opens the airway and allows easier passage of air, which helps as a non surgical cure for sleep apnea. Because the lower jaw is held in a particular position relative to your upper jaw, anti snore devices may not be indicated for everyone. Make sure you see a sleep apnea dentist prior to using any anti snore device.
The one below is a custom made appliance, as opposed to the ones that can be made at home.
PureSleep is a device that you can mold to your teeth at home in a matter of minutes, and can use it immediately. It has been 80-90% effective in decreasing snoring and helping with sleep apnea.
How Devices Like PureSleep Can Help:
Somnomed makes a more long term mandibular advancement splint (MAS) in 3 different types. These devices are used as more of a long term solution than the Puresleep device shown above.
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure:
CPAP devices are also used to treat obstructive sleep apnea. They are a bit more cumbersome as they have a mask and related unit which people can wear at night. Some people may find it a bit cumbersome to use, but it is very effective.
If you have any of the following conditions, you may not be a good candidate for an antisnoring device.
As with any new device, and especially one in your mouth, most antisnoring devices will take some time to get used to. If this is the case, you can try wearing it for 5-10 minutes before you go to sleep, then take it out and go to sleep. The next night, maybe wear it for 30 minutes before going to sleep, take it out and go to sleep. Eventually you should get used to wearing it, then you will probably be comfortable enough to sleep in it. Also, because they are holding your jaws in a different relationship than they are used to, when you wake up in the morning you may have some tightness in your jaw or feel like your bite has changed. Your bite has in essence been temporarily reprogrammed, so it may be a little difficult to eat immediately, but after you loosen up and your teeth find their way back to where they normally sit, you should be able to eat fine. This is normally not a long term concern.
Other side effects include:
Surgical Cures For Sleep Apnea:
In some cases, surgery may be necessary to alleviate the the anti snore problem. As discussed previously, there are many anatomical features that can obstruct a person's airway and cause sleep apnea.
Some of the surgical remedies may include the following.
Reminder: Seek a sleep apnea dentist to evaluate what would be the best course of treatment for you!
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