Though your alarm tells you that you’ve clocked a solid eight hours of sleep, some mornings feel like you had no rest. That happens to virtually everyone occasionally, and we catch up in the next day or two.
Sometimes, though, this daytime exhaustion is chronic, an all-too-often normal cycle that you can’t find a way around. You might have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
It might surprise you to learn that Dr. Richard Blackburn and the staff at Volterra Dental could be part of your OSA management team. An effective treatment for OSA involves the use of a custom-fit oral appliance to help ease the symptoms, allowing you to proceed through a healthy and restful sleep cycle. Your mornings become fresh, not fatigued.
Sleep apnea is a condition characterized by breathing stoppages through the night. While your brain wakes you enough to start breathing again, it disrupts your normal progression through the stages of sleep. Without a normal sleep cycle, your body struggles to recharge.
Obstructive sleep apnea results from physical barriers to breathing caused by collapsed and relaxed tissue in your throat. As your airways become constricted, the speed of air increases and causes relaxed tissue to vibrate.
Snoring is the result of that vibration. Snoring itself doesn’t mean you have OSA, but virtually everyone with OSA will snore, often loudly with intermittent pauses when breathing stops. If you’ve ever woken suddenly from the noise of your own snoring while simultaneously gasping for air, OSA is a strong probable cause.
As you fall asleep, the muscles that control your lower jaw relax, and the jaw slides backward. Your tongue may also relax and slip back into your throat.
One common treatment for OSA is continuous positive airway pressure therapy, commonly known as CPAP. It requires complex equipment and a mask that covers your nose and possibly your mouth, and some patients find it hard to sleep with this gear in place.
A conservative alternative to CPAP therapy for those with mild or moderate forms of the condition uses an oral appliance to hold your jaw position forward as you sleep. This device helps to widen the restricted space through which air moves when you’re asleep.
Instead of dozens of interruptions overnight, you progress naturally through light, deep, and REM stages of sleep. Your body has the downtime it needs to refresh your body and mind, and you wake feeling as though you slept well.
Without treatment for OSA, you face more than just exhaustion throughout the day. OSA contributes to heart problems since breathing irregularities cause your heart to work harder to deliver oxygen to your body. You face an increased risk of heart attack, heart disease, and arrhythmia.
Diabetes and high blood pressure are other conditions connected with OSA, and you may also be more vulnerable to glaucoma, a leading cause of blindness.
Talk to Dr. Blackburn and the team at Volterra Dental about oral appliances for OSA. Book an appointment online or by phone with our Los Alamitos office today.