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Snoring & Sleep Apnea

Snoring

Snoring can disrupt marriages and cause sleepless nights for bed partners. Snoring can be the precursor to obstructive sleep apnea that has been linked to heart failure, high blood pressure and stroke. In its own right, snoring has been linked to Type II Diabetes. Most people with Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) snore loudly and frequently, with periods of silence when airflow is reduced or blocked.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a sleep-related breathing disorder that involves a decrease or complete halt in airflow despite an ongoing effort to breathe. It occurs when the muscles relax during sleep, causing soft tissue in the back of the throat to collapse and block the upper airway. This leads to partial reductions (hypopneas) and complete pauses (apneas) in breathing that last at least 10-30 seconds, some may persist for one minute or longer during sleep. This can lead to abrupt reductions in blood oxygen saturation, with oxygen levels falling as much as 40 percent or more in severe cases.

 

The brain responds to the lack of oxygen by alerting the body, causing a brief arousal from sleep that restores normal breathing. This pattern can occur hundreds of times in one night. The result is a fragmented quality of sleep that often produces an excessive level of daytime sleepiness.

Oral Appliances

An oral appliance is an effective treatment option for people with mild to moderate OSA who either prefer it to CPAP or are unable to successfully comply with CPAP therapy. Oral appliances look much like sports mouth guards, and they help maintain an open and unobstructed airway by repositioning or stabilizing the lower jaw, tongue, soft palate or uvula. Some are designed specifically for snoring, and others are intended to treat both snoring and sleep apnea. At Northtown Dental, Dr. Catherine Tallerico can help you determine if an oral appliance is right for you.