Sleep apnea treatment options explained by your Asheville dentist
Snoring is often merely a mild disturbance. For millions of people, however, snoring is an indicator of a potentially serious problem. Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition that is often mistaken as chronic snoring when, in reality, there is much more going on beneath the surface. This condition, which is the result of obstruction in airflow, keeps people from getting the deep REM sleep that they need for rejuvenation and health. Without adequate sleep, we cannot function at optimal levels. In fact, we may function so poorly that we become at risk for physical accidents and chronic health conditions.
Obstructive sleep apnea occurs as episodes in which breathing stops. As airflow is blocked by relaxed muscles, the brain does not receive oxygen. In response, adrenaline is released so that sleep lightens and breathing resumes. Although the person affected by sleep apnea rarely wakes fully, the lack of deep, restorative sleep may present in seemingly random symptoms such as irritability and depression, even hyperactivity. A common thread, however, is extreme sleepiness even when it seems adequate sleep has been achieved. Obtaining a proper diagnosis for symptoms is an important step in finding a solution to the problems caused by lack of sleep.
The medical approach to obstructive sleep apnea, CPAP treatment, directs constant positive airway pressure through the nose as the patient sleeps. The delivery of positive pressure comes from a machine that sits bedside, pushing air through a hose and mask worn over the nose. Although the pressure of forced air can effectively keep the airway open, the various side effects of treatment keep many people from complying with treatment and, therefore, at risk of consequences from obstructive sleep apnea.
Treatment options, fortunately, extend beyond CPAP therapy. Your dentist at Asheville Smile Center can bring relief using comfortable oral appliance therapy. This alternative to CPAP treatment offers successful results without the need to hook up to a mask, hose, and machine. Wearing a custom fitted oral appliance, you are able to move around freely, sleep in comfortable positions, and even drink or speak without difficulty. Due to the superior comfort and convenience of oral appliance therapy, more people find treatment fits easily into their lifestyle.
Whether you have been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea and desire freedom from your CPAP machine, or you are living with unpleasant symptoms and want to determine if you may have obstructive sleep apnea, we can help. Contact Asheville Smile Center for your consultation with our experienced dental team.