Archive for April 2015

Sleep Apnea – Oral Airway Dilator Treatment?

Snoring is awful! We’ve all heard stories about someone rattling the entire house while he’s snoring, and it may even be you! What we don’t know though is that serious snoring, or Sleep Apnea, can be lethal.

Snoring is caused by the airway’s partial obstruction, specifically in the rear of one’s throat; and if you’ve heard anyone snoring and then suddenly stops breathing, gasping for air, then that must be a serious case of ‘sleep apnea.’ This condition is not just annoying to the person sleeping as well the others around the room; it is also potentially life threatening.

Obstructive sleep apnea is a common condition affecting a large part of our population, an illness that may even affect children. This progressive disease often gets worse as person gets older, that is if he/she even gets the chance of growing old even with this deadly disease.

According to studies, obstructive sleep apnea has been found to increase a person’s risks of stroke and heart attack by up to 300 to 400 percent, diabetes complications, high blood pressure, etc., while also decreasing one’s life expectancy by up to 10 to 20 years.

Sleep apnea usually results in insufficient sleep or daytime sleepiness, general lack of energy, and fatigue. It is also closely associated with headaches in the morning, migraine, acid reflux disease, depression, and teeth grinding. Aside from that, sleep apnea is so serious that it can even decrease one’s cognitive thinking abilities as time goes by.

Historically speaking, pressurized breathing machines called CPAPs, bi-PAPs, (or other names) have often been traditionally used to manage sleep apnea; and these machines typically involve a hose with a mask, a humidifier, compressor, etc. which all help to deliver pressurized air to keep the apnea patient’s airway from collapsing. If you’re suffering from severe sleep apnea and can tolerate using these devices, which are indeed effective at controlling snoring and apnea, then, you can absolutely use it to your advantage. However, many people do have a list of reasons why they don’t use these kinds of machines. This includes noise, discomfort, inconvenience, feelings of claustrophobia, incompatibiliyt with one’s lifestyle, and others.

Good to know there is an alternative treatment that has been shown to be just as effective as air pressure machines in managing obstructive sleep apnea but minus the inconveniences. A highly  trained dentist can offer you custom oral airway dilators, which you can use at night while you’re sleeping. These things look like regular orthodontic retainers, and they also fit over your teeth. It works its magic by either placing a gentle pressure on your tongue or moving your lower jaw slightly forward, freeing your airway so you can breathe much easier.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine highly recommends the use of custom oral airway dilators as the first choice in terms of therapy for mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea, and even for controlling severe cases of apnea that can no longer be toleranted by using CPAP machines.

The dentist will simply perform proper examination and evaluation of your entire mouth and airway, check the condition of your jaw joints (TMJs), and then select the most appropriate custom dilator fit for you so as to maximize its effectiveness. Take note: use of these devices may even be covered by your medical insurance so make sure to check on that.

So start sleeping better now, feel better, feel more rested, live longer, and avoid risking your life altogether! If you think that you or someone you know has obstructive sleep apnea, then you should consider this method and right away you’ll realize that treatment may not be as hard as you had imagined.

Patients with snoring and symptoms of sleep illness should contact Dr. Reed at (720) 504-3633 to schedule a consultation.  Dr. Reed works closely with primary care physicians to align treatment with other conditions.

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