While snoring is common and often harmless, it can be a warning sign of a more serious condition known as obstructive sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a serious medical condition that affects 20 million people in the U.S. Dangers related to OSA include severe daytime sleepiness that can lead to fatal automoblie accidents, increased risk of high blood pressure and increased rates of heart attack and stroke.
OSA occurs when the tongue and soft tissue in the throat collapse and block the airway during sleep. This causes pauses in breathing that can occur up to several hundred times per night. These pauses decrease oxygen levels in the brain and disrupt the sleep cycle.
Severe sleep apnea is best treated with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). Oral appliances made by a specially trained dentist may benefit a large percentage of patients who have mild to moderate apnea, or who simply snore. These appliances are similar in appearance to a sports mouth guard or an orthodontic retainer. When worn during sleep, the oral appliance repositions and stablilizes the lower jaw, tongue and soft palate and maintains an opened air way.
Anyone who suspects that he or she suffers from snoring or obstructive sleep apnea should call our office at 516-599-0883 for a consultation.