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Snoring and Sleep Apnea

Is Snoring Normal?

If you snore, you are not alone! According to the American Sleep Association, almost half of the adult population snores. While some snoring is benign and can be considered “normal”, half of snoring occurs due to a medical condition of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).

Additionally, snoring can put a big strain on your bed partner and quality of life. Bed partners of snorers are not able to get a restful night’s sleep due to the sounds, and may arrange to sleep in separate rooms putting a strain on the relationship.

We are here to help! We understand that snoring and sleep apnea treatments can be intimidating, especially the dreaded CPAP machine. We offer snoring and sleep apnea treatments that are more convenient and comfortable. Most snoring and sleep apnea can be well-managed with a small customized appliance your wear in your mouth (similar to a nightguard, but specific for sleep conditions).

What Solutions Exist to Manage Your Snoring or Sleep Apnea?

Luckily, there are a number of treatment strategies available for your snoring and/or sleep apnea. By gaining knowledge on each type of treatment and with the help of your provider, you will easily be able to choose what suits your needs the best. The most popular treatments include oral appliances and the CPAP machine. Some others are jaw surgery, implantable neuro-stimulators and positional retraining.

A CPAP machine opens the airway by delivering constant and steady air pressure in your throat. Although a CPAP device can be useful, many people tend to complain about leaky masks, stuffy noses, dry mouth and at times, trouble falling asleep due to bothersome noises. As a result, they feel an oral appliance is an easier option for them.

Oral Sleep Appliances/Mandibular Advancement Devices Advantages

oral appliance

The key difference between oral appliances and the CPAP machine is that they tend to be more comfortable and convenient. In contrast to CPAP machines, an oral appliance allows you to experience ideal airflow while breathing:

  • Without air being pushed down your throat

  • No annoying air leaks at the sides of the mask

  • No hose that confines you to one sleep position

  • No need for removal and reattachment of the device while using the bathroom.  This allows you more easily to fall back asleep.

  • No need for an electrical outlet

  • No loud noises emitted

  • Convenient for travel and vacation

  • No compression of your TMJ/jaw joints

What’s the Best Type of Oral Sleep Appliance? Do All Appliances Work the Same Way?

Thankfully, there are different types of oral sleep appliances on the market tailored towards each patient and their needs. Dr. Nojan will examine your teeth, mouth and jaw to determine which appliance would be most suitable for you. We offer a wide variety of oral sleep appliances currently available on the market including:

  • Dorsal fin appliances (manufactured by Somnomed® and Whole You™)

  • Respire Pink Micro

  • Respire Blue Series

  • Herbst Appliances

  • EMA®

  • 3-D printed appliances → Panthera

  • Lamberg™

  • Prosomnus®

Is an Oral Appliance Equally Effective to a CPAP?

The short answer is, yes! As of 2015, the joint guidelines by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) and American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM) were updated to include oral appliances as an acceptable first line treatment for all levels of sleep apnea – including severe sleep apnea. This has been a great piece of news to people with severe sleep apnea because they too are good candidates for an oral appliance.

Oral Appliance Advantages

  • Easier for traveling – portable, small and no need to be checked in on flights

  • No air leaks causing you to wake up

  • Better for individuals suffering from claustrophobia

  • Fully customizable, as each device is individually fitted

  • No hose that confines you to one sleep position

  • No need for removal and reattachment of the device while using the bathroom, this allows you to fall back asleep easily

  • No need for an electrical outlet

  • No loud noises emitted by the CPAP machine

  • No compression of your TMJ/jaw joints and suitable for some TMJ conditions

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a condition where an individual stops breathing for certain periods of time during their sleep. It can consist of shallow breaths, a pause in breathing or gasping for air. The blockage of the airway occurs as a result of the tongue falling backwards and collapsing the muscles of the back of the throat. This lack of airflow results in a drop of oxygen levels to the brain. Once the brain senses the inability to breathe, it tries to reopen the airway, however this disturbs your sleep pattern (sometimes without you even noticing).

The repeated cycle of deeper and shallower sleep stages results in “lousy” sleep quality. Sleep apnea sufferers wake up with a mind fog despite sleeping enough hours. This mind fog can lead to decreased energy, lack of productivity at work, feeling irritable and morning headaches. Because sleep apnea is fairly common and undiagnosed in the general population, patients may spend years trying to cope by changing their behaviors. This may include excessive coffee drinking, energy drinks, and napping.

How Would You Know If You Have Sleep Apnea?

Common symptoms of sleep apnea include gasping for air during sleep, feeling tired in the morning, lack of memory or concentration, morning headaches, and moodiness. Loud snoring is also a frequent symptom. Often times it is very helpful to have your bed partner aid in identifying that you are at risk of sleep apnea. If any of these signs or symptoms are present, you should contact your physician and request a proper sleep test.

To diagnose sleep apnea, healthcare providers conduct sleep studies to help record the number of times you stop, or slow down your breathing in the duration of an hour. The oxygen concentration in the blood is also noted during such events, as low levels indicate lack of airflow.

Sleep studies can be conducted at a sleep lab or at the comfort of your own bed at home. Regardless of where you have your sleep test is conducted, bands and sensors are placed on your body to collect information from the heart, lungs and muscles.

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