The Importance of Sleep
A restful night sleep is important for many essential body functions such as metabolism, the immune system, weight control, and mental health. When sleep is interrupted, not enough oxygenated blood flows to the brain and the body. Sleep disorders may give rise to changes at the cellular level, and to the immune, metabolic and vascular systems.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing stops and starts. Signs of Apnea include:
-Breathing that stops and restarts, with quiet periods followed by snorts or noises.
-Gasping for air while sleeping
-Waking up tired and unrefreshed even after 7 or 8 hours of sleep.
-Daytime sleepiness and fatigue
Options For Treating Sleep Apnea
With Obstructive Sleep Apnea, as we lie down and fall asleep, the airway can become narrower and restrict the flow of air. Sometimes, especially when we sleep on our backs, the tongue also falls to the back of the throat and blocks the airway.
CPAP or BIPAP, devices that fit over the nose and face, deliver a stream of air to keep the airway from collapsing. Many patients have difficulty tolerating these appliances.
Surgical treatments including tonsillectomies and other options can help to open the airway.
Oral appliances for sleep appliance, help improve the flow of oxygen into the lungs uninterrupted and improve sleep and overall health. They fit inside the mouth, are portable, and need no connection to a power source. By holding the lower jaw forward and slightly open, the airway is opened up and the tongue is prevented from falling back into the throat.
At Virginia TMJ to treat Obstructive Sleep Apnea we begin with a diagnosis from a Physician certified in Sleep Medicine. We then perform a thorough head and neck exam using state of the art diagnostic equipment and techniques. Our exams include:
-A review of medical and dental history
-Cranial nerve evaluation
-Head, neck and muscle palpations
With the correct diagnosis, we design the treatment for the patient’s specific needs and severity of the disorder. We will communicate with the patient’s dentist and physicians to coordinate care and assure the best outcomes. We follow up treatment with maintenance care to assure continued improvement.
There are many different oral appliances available to treat Obstructive Sleep Apnea. At Virginia TMJ our goal is to choose and fit each patient with the correct oral sleep appliance for their needs and condition. Let us help you to wake up to a better day.