The most common form of sleep apnea is known as obstructive sleep apnea or OSA. Obstructive sleep apnea is characterized by repeated lapses in breathing throughout the night, caused when the tongue, other soft tissues of the mouth and throat, and lower jaw relaxes in such a way that results in your airway becoming partially blocked as you sleep. This prevents air from reaching the lungs and often causes sleep apnea sufferers to partially awaken – sometimes as many as hundreds of times a night! Another one of sleep apnea’s symptoms is excessive snoring. In addition to leaving you drowsy and unrested even after a full night’s sleep, sleep apnea can lead to larger-scale health problems, such as high blood pressure, type II diabetes, and depression.
The first step in treating sleep apnea is getting a diagnosis, which must come from a physician. If you have symptoms or signs of sleep apnea, you should consider getting evaluated by a sleep disorder specialist. Most often your doctor will schedule an overnight appointment at a sleep center.
The most common treatment for sleep apnea is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), which involves a machine that pumps a constant flow of air into your airways while you wear a mask. However, dentistry has come up with another simpler, far smaller, and more convenient solution that many patients find more comfortable. We can treat sleep apnea with an FDA-approved custom oral appliance, that resembles sports mouthguards, that gently shifts the jaw forward and prevents the muscles of the tongue & upper throat from collapsing into your airway. Rather than being strapped into a bulky, noisy machine, the patient can simply wear a custom-fitted dental appliance to keep their airway open. There are numerous types of oral appliances that help treat sleep apnea, which is where our dentist’s expertise comes in. Factors such as the size and shape of your jaw and tongue, and whether you grind your teeth or have TMJ will help Dr. George to determine which one will work best for you.
Regardless of which type is used, it will fit perfectly and be comfortable to wear as it’s custom-made for you.
Sore throat in the mornings
Lack of energy
Severe daytime sleepiness