Do you snore? Have you ever woken up gasping? Do you clench or grind your teeth at night? Do you have a hard time falling and staying asleep? You may have a common and serious sleep disorder called Sleep Apnea. Sleep Apnea causes the amount of air going to your lungs to be limited by the constant blocking of your airway. When this happens, oxygen deprivation reeks havoc on your brain and body and can cause you to wake up multiple times throughout the night.
In many cases, an apnea, or temporary pause in breathing, is caused by the tissue in the back of the throat collapsing. The muscles of the upper airway relax when you fall asleep. If you sleep on your back, gravity can cause the tongue to fall back. This narrows the airway, which reduces the amount of air that can reach your lungs. The narrowed airway causes snoring by making the tissue in the back of the throat vibrate as you breathe.
Sleep apnea can make you wake up in the morning feeling tired or unrefreshed even though you have had a full night’s sleep. During the day, you may feel fatigued, have difficulty concentrating or you may even unintentionally fall asleep. This is because your body is waking up numerous times throughout the night, even though you might not be conscious of each awakening. Other common symptoms can include GERD (heartburn/acid reflux) and bruxism (teeth grinding).
Early identification of sleep apnea is a critical component for minimizing the tragic effects the disease has on your life.
The lack of oxygen your body receives can have negative long-term consequences for your health. This includes:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Pre-diabetes and diabetes
- Erectile Dysfunction
After your sleep study, a consult will be scheduled with you and Dr. Greenhalgh. At this consultation, Dr. Greenhalgh will discuss your results, prescription, and your personalized options. There are many dental appliances available to help manage your obstructive sleep apnea, including, The Thornton Adjustable Positioner, or TAP appliance, which is a mandibular (lower jaw) advancement device specifically engineered for keeping your airway open during sleep. This technology not only allows you to advance your lower jaw with greater range than any other device, but it also makes it incredibly comfortable and easy to adjust your device while it’s in your mouth.
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