Snoring and Sleep Apnea

If you snore, you may hear complaints from your partner. In fact, snoring can create relationship stress and conflict, especially since both partners are not getting adequate sleep.

While snoring can be a disruptive experience, it can also indicate a serious underlying health condition called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Obstructive sleep apnea affects approximately 18 million Americans according to the National Sleep Foundation. If you are male, over the age of forty, or have a higher BMI, your risk for sleep apnea rises dramatically.

What Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

Obstructive sleep apnea causes the airway at the back of the throat to become restricted, preventing adequate airflow. The result is loud snoring and intermittent interruption of breathing. Each time breathing is disrupted, the brain signals the body to awaken, preventing you from achieving adequate or restful sleep. In fact, OSA can cause hundreds of disruptions in breathing each night, creating serious, life-threatening conditions such as:

  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Depression
  • Impotence
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Memory problems
  • Headaches

Diagnosis of OSA

Sleep apnea requires a diagnosis from an accredited sleep clinic. You may need a referral from your primary doctor. Typically, sleep clinics will recommend an at-home study involving the nighttime use a small device to monitor your vital signs and breathing patterns as you sleep, or they will recommend an overnight sleep study at a clinic where you will wear monitoring devices that measure breathing, heart rate, and oxygen levels. Once they gather the necessary data and analyze it, an accurate diagnosis and treatment are possible.

Treatment of OSA

Typically, the gold standard of treatment for OSA includes nighttime use of a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine that keeps your airway open during sleep with a constant flow of air through a mask. Many people, however, do not tolerate the CPAP machine treatment well because they find it uncomfortable, cumbersome, and disruptive. If they remove the mask during sleep, it means they are not getting the lifesaving treatment they need.

Oral Appliance Therapy

At Schoen Family Dentistry, Dr. Tom Schoen provides patients suffering from mild to moderate OSA an alternative to CPAP machine therapy. Treatment with a specially designed oral appliance can give patients a comfortable and effective alternative for treatment of OSA and snoring.

Oral appliance therapy works by gently moving your lower jaw forward, which opens the airway at the back of the throat, allowing for quieter, uninterrupted sleep. Patients adjust to treatment with oral appliance therapy quickly and tolerate it well.

Call Our Office for an Evaluation

If you are looking for a comfortable treatment option for sleep apnea, or if you snore and want an effective solution, contact our Wabasha, MN dental office today. We look forward to helping you get a good night’s sleep!