We all know what snoring is like. Unfortunately if you suffer from moderate or heavy snoring, your partner may either make you sleep in the other room or just suffer from snore induced insomnia. There are a few dental appliances that can help reduce the severity of snoring.
However, snoring can be a symptom of a much more serious symptom of sleep apnea. Sleep apnea literally stops your breathing while you sleep. As you already know, sleep is a critical part of our healing process. It helps rejuvenate us physically, mentally and emotionally. Without enough sleep our entire system can suffer. Only a minority of people with sleep apnea actually get treatment. In fact, conservative estimates suggest that only 16 percent of people with sleep apnea get treatment.
Untreated sleep apnea can increase the risk of hypertension, heart attack, irregular heartbeats, stroke, obesity, diabetes ,erectile dysfunction, and increased chance of daytime work and driving accidents. Sleep apnea can occur in three forms: obstructive, central and mixed. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common and involves blockage of the airway from excessive tissue in the back of tongue, throat or nose. Central sleep apnea is a result of a communication problem between the brain and muscles of breathing. Mixed sleep apnea is a combination of the two other types.
Obstructive sleep apnea can be treated in moderate to mild cases with special appliances worn in the mouth. For more severe cases, surgery may be necessary to open the airway. Our appliance of choice is the SomnoDent but there are many other devices that can help.
You may ofheard of the CPAP or VPAP machines to treat sleep apnea. They are the gold standard of sleep apnea treatment but for many, they are extremely cumbersome and not very comfortable. Itâ€™s like wearing an oxygen mask on your face with positive continuous pressure. Your partner may also find it difficult to get used to the sounds the apparatus may make. However, if you can get used to it, it is the treatment of choice that can be prescribed by your medical doctor.
If you currently have a CPAP or VPAP and canâ€™t tolerate it, you may want to try a dental appliance such as the SomnoDentbefore resorting to irreversible surgery. The efficacy of the dental device can be tracked with take home testing devices.
Take this short test to see if you may need testing for a sleep disorder:
Epworth Sleepiness Scale
The Epworth Sleepiness Scale is used to determine the level of daytime sleepiness. A score of 10 or more is considered sleepy. A score of 18 or more is very sleepy. If you score 10 or more on this test, you should consult consider getting tested for a sleep disorder.
Use the following scale to choose the most appropriate number for each situation:
Fill in your answers and see where you stand.
|Situation||Chance of Dozing or Sleeping|
|Sitting and reading|
|Sitting inactive in a public place|
|Being a passenger in a motor vehicle for an hour or more|
|Lying down in the afternoon|
|Sitting and talking to someone|
|Sitting quietly after lunch (no alcohol)|
|Stopped for a few minutes in traffic while driving|
|Total score (add the scores up) (This is your Epworth score)|
If you think you or your loved one is suffering from sleep apnea, call for a consultation.
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