As many as 70 million Americans may have sleep apnea, and many of them remain undiagnosed. The most obvious symptom of the condition is daytime tiredness despite spending sufficient time in bed. Many people with sleep apnea snore loudly and irregularly.
Tiredness is only one of the health risks associated with the condition. Metairie Village Dentistry, located in Metairie, Louisiana, can help with treatment by fitting you with a custom appliance that promotes better sleep breathing. For many people with sleep apnea, the easy-to-wear mouthpiece is the answer to their sleep disruptions.
The three types of sleep apnea
All types of sleep apnea have one thing in common — your breathing stops when you’re asleep. While your brain will wake you enough to restart your breathing, sleep apnea breaks up your normal sleep cycle. If your apnea is significant enough, you may not get enough of the deep sleep your body requires to feel rested.
There are two causes of sleep apnea. One is neurological, originating in the brain, and the other is physical.
Central sleep apnea (CSA)
This is the least common cause of sleep apnea. CSA happens when signals from your brain that control breathing stop. You may wake up gasping for air or you might start breathing again without being aware. Both situations interrupt your sleep cycle.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)
The most common type of sleep apnea is a physical issue. Soft tissue collapses when you’re asleep, blocking the passage of air. Before the air is completely blocked, the collapsed tissue vibrates due to changes in airspeed through the restricted spaces.
That produces the characteristic snoring that accompanies OSA. When breathing stops completely during sleep, snoring can be irregular, including gulps and cough-like sounds when your breathing restarts.
Complex sleep apnea syndrome
The third type of sleep apnea is the rarest. Complex sleep apnea syndrome combines the causes of CSA and OSA.
Dental solutions to OSA
Metairie Village Dentistry might not be your first thought for sleep apnea treatment. But if you have OSA, a custom oral appliance might be an alternative to elaborate breathing devices that can interfere with sleep. While continuous positive air pressure (CPAP) machines are most effective at keeping airways open, they can be bulky and uncomfortable.
One issue that contributes to airway obstruction during sleep is the relaxing of the lower jaw. When that happens, it falls backward and constricts your throat. An oral appliance (similar to an athletic mouthpiece) holds the lower jaw forward. That usually provides enough extra space to end your OSA symptoms. Furthermore, it’s more comfortable than complex CPAP devices.
Contact Dr. Lisa Wyatt and the team at Metairie Village Dentistry to discuss your OSA and possible solutions. You can reach the office by phone or online to book your consultation. You deserve a good night’s sleep, so make an appointment today.