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Dr. Christopher Port

Asheville area patients ask, what is obstructive sleep apnea?

What Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea, Asheville NC

Sleeping disorders can wreak havoc on one’s quality of life. It can cause patients to have difficulty getting a good night’s sleep and carry into their daytime routine. It can make patients tired, irritable, and also result in the inability to concentrate and poor memory. All of these problems can stem from not getting the rest necessary to restore the body. The deep, restorative sleep is needed to help the body recover and feel well-rested the following day to function at its best. When patients are dealing with sleeping disorder, this can be a huge concern. This is why patients in the Asheville area should make sure they are getting tested with sleep studies if they suspect an issue. One of the most commonly diagnosed sleeping disorders is that of obstructive sleep apnea.

What is obstructive sleep apnea? Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition that occurs due to a blockage in the airway. This can be a narrow throat, the tongue falling to the back of the mouth, or even excess fat around the neck lowering into the airway while a patient is sleeping on his or her back. The obstruction can result in the inability to breathe, causing patients to wake up again and again at night. For patients with obstructive sleep apnea, they may wake up hundreds of times in one night, never reaching the deep sleep necessary to restore their mind and body. Patients awaken tired and groggy and may have difficulty getting through the day because they are so tired.

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Obstructive sleep apnea is diagnosed during a sleep study with a physician. Most doctors will then suggest the use of an appliance known as a CPAP machine. This machine includes a special mask that is worn over the nose and mouth and attached to a device that keeps the airways open at all times during the night. This can improve sleep. However, many patients find the CPAP machine to be uncomfortable to wear and may not comply with use. This is when Dr. Christopher Pot of the Asheville Smile Center may suggest patients consider the advantages of oral appliance therapy. Oral appliance therapy is a treatment that uses a special, custom-made mouth guard fabricated from professional-grade plastics.

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