Arden area patients ask, how is obstructive sleep apnea treated?
Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder that affects millions of Americans—with many more being left untreated. The condition can be hard to catch, especially for patients who sleep alone. Those with sleeping partners may be advised as to how they sleep each night. Sleeping partners often notice problems such as snoring, the inability to breath, and gasping and waking several hundred times a night. This is caused by a blockage in the airway that can result from several issues including the tongue falling back into the throat, the mouth relaxing, and even excess fat around the neck closing the airway when patients rest on their back. All of these can cause a blockage and result in the inability to breathe, which is when patients awake. Obstructive sleep apnea can keep patients from reaching the deep, restorative sleep they need to restore the mind and body, thus leaving patients tired and groggy every day. This can have a dramatic impact on their quality of life and can even be the cause of developing conditions such as depression, anxiety, reduced ability to concentration and poor memory.
Obstructive sleep apnea is diagnosed during a sleep study with a qualified physician. They will monitor patients as they sleep to find out if they are dealing with this condition and need assistance in keeping the airways open during the night for more restorative sleep.
How is obstructive sleep apnea treated? The first line of treatment is often the recommendation to use a CPAP machine. A CPAP machine is a device that is worn over the nose and mouth and helps in maintaining open airways. It can be cumbersome and uncomfortable, which causes many patients to avoid using it and letting the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea persist. This is when a dentist can help!
Dr. Christopher Port of the Asheville Smile Center near Arden can help patients in addressing obstructive sleep apnea without a CPAP machine. Instead, he may recommend oral appliance therapy. A specialized mouth guard is made for patients to wear at night to keep the tongue in place, realign the jaw, and maintain open airways to allow individuals the ability to reach a more deep, restorative sleep.