Sleep Apnea is a condition occurring when your throat collapses while you sleep, blocking your airway. As a result, you experience pauses in breathing which may happen hundreds of times throughout the night. Your brain will rouse you from sleep so that you can resume breathing. One of the most common symptoms of sleep apnea is snoring.
My sleep apnea is not bothering me. Is treatment really necessary?
Yes. If left untreated sleep apnea can lead to many life threatening problems such as:
High blood pressure
What causes sleep apnea?
You many be suffering from obstructive sleep apnea for a number of reasons, including:
Large tongue and/or tonsils
Small airway due to the shape of your head and neck
Am I at risk for sleep apnea?
Anyone can develop sleep apnea. Over 15 million Americans suffer from Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). Risk factors for sleep apnea include obesity, high blood pressure, and loud snoring. Some studies have also indicated that sleep apnea may be hereditary.
How is sleep apnea diagnosed?
If you are suffering from sleepless nights, the best way to determine if you have Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a diagnostic sleep study conducted by a certified sleep apnea dentist. Dr. Mark McKenna can perform all of the necessary diagnostic tests for you.
How do you treat sleep apnea?
Dr. Mark McKenna will generally recommend using mandibular repositioning appliances and tongue-retaining devices. In our experience, we find that our patients are much more likely to tolerate these custom fitted appliances than they would a CPAP machine.
Why We Do Not Use CPAP
CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure, and if you have read or heard about sleep apnea treatment then you have probably heard of CPAP.
CPAP is a very effective treatment in theory, but is so poorly tolerated that many patients will not or cannot use it properly and in reality do not get the full benefits. Common problems with CPAP include:
Dry mouth and throat
Keep bedmate awake due to noise
Skin irritation and rashes
Very inconvenient when traveling
Interference with intimacy
Keeps bedmate awake due to noise
Requires inconvenient maintenance
Sadly some sleep apnea sufferers shy away from treatment because they believe that CPAP is the only option available to treat their condition. That is not the case.
Sleep Apnea Oral Appliances
At McKenna Orthodontics, we offer our patients several types of sleep apnea oral appliances to treat their sleep apnea condition. These appliances keep your lower jaw in a forward position, ensuring your airway remains open as it should be. The sleep apnea oral appliances offered here are not like the anti-snoring and sleep apnea mouthpieces bought over-the-counter. At McKenna Orthodontics, our custom made medical devices are specifically for your mouth. The sleep appliance we design at McKenna Orthodontics is comfortable so you can wear them all night.
Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation. McKenna Orthodontics serves sleep apnea patients in the Morristown and East Tennessee areas.