What Causes Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea occurs when the muscles at the back of your throat overly relax during sleep, causing your tongue to roll back into your throat and blocking the flow of oxygen. When this occurs, you stop breathing for a few seconds or a few minutes at a time before your brain signals your body to wake up. Usually, sleep apnea sufferers wake up with a loud snort, sometimes hundreds of times throughout the night.
There are certain risk factors that can increase your chances of suffering from sleep apnea, including:
- Enlarged tongue and tonsils
Sleep apnea affects more than just your sleep patterns. The disorder has been linked to serious illnesses including diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. Lack of proper sleep can affect your mood and cause depression, memory loss, and other psychological effects.
In a sleep apnea study group, most patients experienced positive physiological and behavioral outcomes following oral appliance sleep apnea therapy.
Sleep Apnea Treatment
While central sleep apnea, a more serious form of sleep apnea caused by neurological issues, requires treatment by a specialist, Dr. Whiteman may be able to provide relief if you suffer from OSA. During your consultation, he will ask you questions about your symptoms and assess your oral health. He will then order a sleep study to provide accurate diagnosis of your condition. If you are diagnosed with sleep apnea, he can create a custom oral appliance using your impressions to ensure a comfortable fit.
Oral appliances are worn during sleep and function by holding your lower jaw in a forward position, opening your airways and allowing oxygen to flow to your lungs normally. While continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP, machines have also been used to treat sleep apnea, a mouthguard can offer a more comfortable, quieter solution. Oral appliance therapy is highly effective, and a study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information concluded that appliance therapy was a successful form of sleep apnea treatment. In the study group observed, most patients experienced positive physiological and behavioral outcomes.
What Sets Our Practice Apart
Dr. Whiteman has been practicing dentistry for over 20 years, and he can provide customized treatment from start to finish. Oral health has a significant influence on your overall health, and we provide a wide range of restorative and general dentistry treatments that can help you enjoy a better quality of life. Your comfort is also important to us, and we offer amenities such as satellite radio and wireless networking to help you enjoy your visit to our office.
Call Our Office
Delaying sleep apnea treatment can have serious physical and behavioral side effects. If you notice a loved one exhibiting tiredness, irritability, or inability to concentrate, schedule an appointment with Dr. Whiteman to determine the cause of their symptoms. Schedule a consultation by calling us at (617) 731-4746 or contacting us online.