Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is often characterized by breathing irregularities during sleep due to blocked or restricted airways. Along with snoring, other major signs that you may be suffering with sleep apnea can include:
- Chronic daytime fatigue
- Gasping or choking during sleep
- Breathing pauses while sleeping
- Awakening to a spell of shortness of breath
If you are concerned that you may have obstructive sleep apnea, it is important to make an appointment with a physician who can make the proper diagnosis. He or she will likely perform a thorough physical exam, ask you about any symptoms that you are experiencing, and suggest testing that can reveal the cause of your concerns. Sleep apnea can lead to serious health conditions and have a tremendous impact on your quality of life if not treated.
To reduce the symptoms of sleep apnea, the airways must be opened and kept clear of obstruction. This is typically accomplished in a couple of ways, either with a continuous positive air pressure (CPAP) machine, or use of a mandibular positioning device. While the CPAP machine forces the airways open with air pressure, a mandibular advancement device like the Daytime-Nightime Appliance (DNA), TAP®, or Silent Nite® progressively reposition oral structures to improve breathing capabilities with permanent results. The small size and quiet nature of these devices makes them convenient for daily use and travel when compared with the CPAP machine. Furthermore, the devices typically do not dry out the throat and mouth as the CPAP machine is known to do.
If you have questions about diagnosis and treatment for sleep apnea, our experienced dentists here at Designer Smiles can help.