What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)?
OSA, often associated with snoring, is caused by changes in you airway while sleeping. As you sleep, your airway may narrow, resulting in limited airflow as you breathe. This can cause you soft tissue to vibrate (snoring), or it may completely collapse, causing you to stop breathing (OSA). Symptoms commonly associated with OSA include: snoring, fatigue, excessive daytime sleepiness, depression, reduced resistance to infection, and choking or grasping for breath.
People with OSA are 4 times more likely to have a heart attack, twice as likely to die in their sleep, and seven times more likely to have a motor vehicle accident. 90% of stroke victims also suffer from OSA. Individuals who have OSA are at 40% greater risk of suffering from depression, and more likely to have sexual impotence and develop diabetes.
Following a preliminary screening, your Dentist, Family Care Physician or Sleep Physician will refer you to an overnight Sleep Study (PSG) or Home Sleep Testing (HST) study.
A PSG test, conducted in a sleep laboratory or hospital, is referred to as an “attended” or “monitored” sleep study. These are considered to be the gold standard in sleep testing.
HST is performed by a device the patient wears in his or her own home. This type of sleep study is considered “unattended.” The patient is provided instructions for using the device and returns it to the supplying office the next day for evaluation.
1. Lifestyle Changes—
These include weight loss, over the counter medication, and improved sleep hygiene. It is recommended that weight loss be used in conjunction with another treatment option, such as CPAP or Oral appliances.
2. Oral Appliance Therapy—
Oral Appliance Therapy effectively treats OSA by moving the lower jaw slightly forward. The movement results in the tightening of the soft tissue and muscles of the upper airway, preventing obstruction while sleeping. The SomnoDent MAS, a Mandibular Advancement Splint (MAS), is a comfortable, effective, custom-made option. SomnoDent MAS can be worn with dentures. And be fitted over dental implants. This type of treatment is filled with medical insurance, and most insurance companies will pay for a custom fitted oral appliance like the SomnoDent MAS.
3. Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)—
CPAP is worn while sleeping, and applied through a tube and mask that covers the nose. The tube and mask are attached to a pump that generates air pressure which splints the structures in the back of the throat, holding the airway open during sleep.
4 . Surgery—
There are several surgical procedures with varying success for treating OAS. Surgery seeks to create a more open airway. However, this can be invasive, and in some cases cause apnea to worsen.