What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is an often-undiagnosed condition affecting millions of Americans. It is a disorder characterized by decreased levels of oxygen to the blood causing unusual pauses in breathing throughout the night. It is not “just snoring” as many people believe. In fact, you don’t snore during an apneic event, because you are not breathing. However, snoring is a red flag warning that you may have apnea.
Oxygen deprivation during an apneic event only lasts a few seconds, but these events occur many times throughout the night. Additionally, your sleep is repeatedly disturbed throughout the night. The cumulative result of poor quality sleep and routine oxygen deprivation can wreak havoc on your health.
Like TMD, sleep apnea has been associated with a wide range of (often seemingly unrelated) problems including:
- Cardiac issues
- Hormonal issues
- Weight loss
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Impaired mental functionality
In traditional medical, treatment for Sleep Apnea is CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure). It is a machine which forces air into your lungs via a mask. The air pressure holds your airway open. Although it is largely effective, approximately 60 percent of all patients can’t tolerate the noise, discomfort, and inconvenience.
We provide simple and comfortable oral appliance therapy. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, this technique is the gold standard in treatment of mild to moderate apnea. We have been using these custom-made appliances to relieve sleep apnea with phenomenal results. The vast majority of patients no longer have any need for CPAP!
Schedule a Consultation
If you have questions regarding sleep apnea, the diagnosis process or oral sleep appliances, please contact Hiebert Smith Dental Group. Call (503) 397-6144 to schedule a consultation at our St. Helens office.