The term “sleep apnea” refers to pauses of 10 to 30 seconds in breathing during sleep which disturb the normal sleep cycle. According to the Lung Association of Canada, 26% of adults have a high risk of having or developing sleep apnea and 2 – 3% of children are likely to have sleep apnea.
Symptoms and impact of sleep apnea
Excessive daytime sleepiness that cannot be explained and snoring with pauses in breathing are the main symptoms of sleep apnea, however there are other symptoms that can accompany them.
Sleep apnea can lead to a host of negative effects, including:
- Gasping or choking during sleep
- High blood pressure
- Memory loss
- Lack of concentration
- Morning headaches
Medical treatment for sleep apnea
CPAP, or continuous positive airway pressure, is the medical treatment for sleep apnea. CPAP delivers a constant flow of air to the patient through tubing and a mask to the airway. The pressure of the airflow prevents the collapse of the airway and eliminates the sleep apnea events.
One of the downsides of CPAP is the discomfort of wearing a mask and tubing while sleeping. Also, CPAP is not a cure for sleep apnea, it only works as long as it is used.
If diagnosed with severe sleep apnea by a medical doctor, the patient is required to try the CPAP device for at least one month because it is considered the best treatment option.
After one month of using CPAP, or in cases of mild to moderate sleep apnea, the patient can request an alternate treatment for sleep apnea, such as a dental sleep apnea appliance.
Dental appliances and devices to treat sleep apnea
Dental sleep apnea appliances, also known as oral appliances, may be suggested by a patient’s doctor to treat mild or moderate sleep apnea. Dental apnea devices to treat sleep apnea are worn at night and work by holding the tongue and jaw in a forward position.
There are many different types of dental sleep apnea appliances for sleep apnea available. If a dental apnea device or appliance is recommended by your doctor, it’s best to consult with your dentist at Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group in regard to the ideal type of apnea sleep treatment.
Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group in Nanaimo, BC, is proud to offer dental appliances and apnea appliances as an alternative to CPAP to treat sleep apnea as well as snoring and welcomes you to make an appointment for a consultation.