What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a potentially life threatening sleep disorder caused by the continuous obstruction of your airway that prevents air from flowing through your nose or mouth while you are asleep.
If you suffer from untreated sleep apnea, you repeatedly stop breathing while you sleep—often a hundred or more times a night. While this is occurring, oxygen levels in your bloodstream drop to unsafe levels, depriving your body of sufficient oxygen, which makes it difficult to breathe normally.
When the oxygen level in your brain drops to an insufficient level, you will partially waken, clear the obstruction in your throat, (typically accompanied by a loud, forceful gasp of air), and resume normal breathing. Continuous activity of this nature deprives you of sleep, places a great deal of stress on your body, and endangers your health.
If left untreated, Sleep Apnea can lead to..
High Blood Pressure
What Causes Snoring?
When you breathe normally, air passes through your nose, and past the flexible structures in the back of your throat—the soft palate, uvula and tongue. While you are awake, your muscles control these structures, keeping your airway open. When you fall asleep, these muscles relax but normally, your airway stays open.
Snoring occurs when during sleep, the structures in the back of your throat relax to a point where they partially obstruct the flow of air movement through your airway. As air tries to pass through these obstructions, your throat structures vibrate causing the sound we know as snoring. Large tonsils, a long soft palate and uvula, and excess fat deposits contribute to the narrowing of the airway.
While snoring can be harmless, it can also be a sign of a more serious medical condition called upper airway resistance syndrome (UARS), which progresses to obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)
According to the National Institutes of Health, sleep apnea affects more than 18 million Americans. Most sleep apnea sufferers experience teeth grinding (bruxism) at night. Teeth grinding is your body’s way of instinctually opening up your airway when you stop breathing due to obstructive sleep apnea.
When your airway becomes partially blocked due to sleep apnea, you will immediately experience trouble breathing. As this condition progresses, you will automatically grind your teeth in an effort to re-open the blocked airway and resume normal breathing. When teeth grinding occurs in this situation, it’s considered an important survival mechanism. Unfortunately, it also has a propensity to cause considerable damage to your teeth. Typically, the damage caused by teeth grinding requires extensive work to repair (with implants, bridges, etc.) at a significant cost. In order to prevent this from occurring, you must treat the cause of this problem: sleep apnea. Once the cause is eliminated, your teeth grinding will cease, as will the damage it causes. Amazingly, Oral Appliance Therapy treats sleep apnea, stops teeth grinding, and eliminates snoring in most patients, all at the same time!
How is Apnea Treated?
There are three effective Oral Application Solution options for treating sleep apnea: medical (CPAP), surgical (UPP) and dental (oral appliance therapy).
At Pollock Dental Sleep Therapy, we treat sleep apnea through the effective use of oral appliance therapy, a non-invasive treatment that utilizes a small plastic appliance worn in the mouth, similar to an orthodontic retainer or sports mouth guard.
The easy to wear, custom-fitted appliance, worn during sleep, maintains an open, unobstructed airway, reduces snoring, and decreases or eliminates sleep apnea events. As a result, the wearer experiences deeper, healthier sleep.
Oral appliance therapy is an effective treatment for mild to moderate sleep apnea—especially for those individuals who cannot tolerate CPAP or do not wish to undergo surgery. Oral appliances may be used alone or in combination with other means of treating sleep apnea, including general health and weight management.
Oral Appliance Therapy
Oral appliance therapy has several advantages over other forms of sleep apnea treatment.
The appliance is convenient, comfortable and easy to wear, and most people find it takes only a couple of nights to get used to wearing.
It is small, simple to use, and easy to travel with, so you will sleep comfortably-free of sleep apnea symptoms- wherever you might be!”
Oral appliances are adjustable, reversible, non-invasive, and quite importantly, will alleviate apnea symptoms, snoring and teeth grinding from day one! It only takes a few weeks to prepare your appliance, and after you start using it, we will continue to follow you to be sure that your treatment remains effective.
All diagnostic sleep monitoring prior to treatment is done at home, in the comfort of your own bed. Sleepless overnight stays at a Sleep Center (hooked up dozens of wires) are NOT required.