What is obstructive sleep apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea causes breathing pauses while you sleep. A common disorder, it’s triggered when the muscles in your throat relax while you sleep, and your tongue and soft palate collapse onto the back of your throat. The resulting blockage restricts air to your lungs and lowers your blood oxygen level, which signals your brain to rouse you. When you resume breathing, it’s usually with a loud gasp, snort or body jerk.
Breathing pauses can last from a few seconds to more than a minute and can occur hundreds of times a night, reducing oxygen to your vital organs, causing irregular heart rhythms, and leaving you foggy and fatigued each day.
What can you do about your sleep apnea symptoms?
Talking to your primary care physician is your first best step. Explain your symptoms and request a referral to a sleep specialist. A sleep specialist can diagnose your condition and help you determine the right obstructive sleep apnea treatment options, which will likely include one or a combination of:
CPAP. A CPAP machine blows air through a tube and mask, and into your nose, mouth and throat. The gentle air presses on the wall of your airway to keep it open. Though scientifically the most successful treatment for obstructive sleep apnea, people often resist using CPAP because it can feel claustrophobic, cause dryness in their nose and throat, be unappealing to their partner and more.
OAT. An FDA-approved OAT device is like a mouth guard or dental retainer. It keeps your airway open as you sleep by holding your tongue or supporting your lower jaw in a forward position. An OAT device is small, simple to use, easy to clean, non-invasive and often equals CPAP for effectiveness. Most people need only a couple of weeks to get used to wearing their OAT device.
Upper Airway Surgery. When other options don’t work for you, your sleep specialist may recommend upper airway surgery. Depending on the location and nature of your airway obstruction, the procedure may be minimally invasive or more complex, and could involve removing the tonsils or other tissues.
During normal sleep, the muscles that control the tongue and soft palate hold the airway open.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
If the muscles relax too much, the airway can collapse and become blocked, obstructing breathing.
How Dr. Vora helps relieve your sleeping problem
Once you’ve been diagnosed by your sleep specialist and determine oral appliance therapy is right for you, Vora Dental Care provides your custom-fitted device. Having reviewed your sleep study results, Dr. Vora explains the procedure and answers all your questions at your first appointment. She examines your mouth and throat, and creates a dental impression of your mouth.
Then she orders an FDA-approved laboratory to make your OAT device. When it’s ready, she welcomes you back for a fitting, answers your additional questions and ensures you know exactly how to use and care for your new OAT device.
To ensure your success, she follows up with additional appointments in close succession to evaluate your near-term sleep improvements and make any necessary adjustments. Afterwards, because sleep apnea is ongoing, Dr. Vora sees you on a regular basis (similar to your dental checkup visits) to safeguard your continuing healthy treatment response.
The right advice, the right treatment = RELIEF