Sleep is something the majority of us would love to get more of, but sadly that usually isn’t the case. Roughly, the amount of sleep we are supposed to be getting nightly is anywhere from 7 to 9 hours. Personally, I’m content if I get at least 6-7 hours a night, and can definitely feel it throughout the day when I don’t. Sometimes however there are conditions that can affect not only the amount of sleep you might get on a nightly basis, but the quality of your sleep and nighttime breathing as well. Sleep apnea is one of those conditions.
Sleep apnea is a condition where airflow is restricted due to an obstruction, which ultimately prohibits free flowing air to pass. The severity of the sleep apnea a person faces will determine what the corrective measure will be. The blockage of airflow causes the brain to send a message to the muscles in the airway to tighten up and allow for the air to finally pass. When this happens, a loud snore is usually emitted. Depending on the severity of the sleep apnea, the amount of times that this happens (episodes) can vary. Those who are afflicted with the most severe cases can suffer up to 30 of these episodes per hour.
The noises emitted from the sleep apnea sufferer may be troublesome to anyone else in their vicinity, but the repercussions of untreated severe cases can be much worse. Thankfully, there are treatments that can help everyone sleep more soundly. First, a medical assessment must be made in order to determine and correctly diagnose the sleep apnea and its severity. Next, based on the diagnosis, the type of remedy best suited for the patient is decided. There are many different options to help fix the issue such as: various medications, mechanical devices such as the CPAP machine, and even home remedies for the cases that aren’t as severe. In the most severe cases surgery is sometimes an option as well.
An Ottawa dental professional is able to work closely with patients to help them decide the best option for them. They can also provide another type of treatment, oral appliances. These are custom made to fit the patients’ mouth and aids in increasing airflow while they sleep. There are two main categories of oral appliances, which are: Tongue Retaining Devices (TRD) and Mandibular Advancing Devices (MAD). TRD’s essentially hold the tongue in place while sleeping, through suction. The purpose of MAD’s is to readjust the jaw, which in turn readjusts the tongue and throat tissue and increases airflow.
If you are a sleep apnea sufferer (or think you might be) the best thing to do is to meet with a medical practitioner to have a full assessment and diagnosis. When that is complete, an Ottawa dental professional is able to help you take the next steps to treat the sleep apnea and improve your quality of life.