Everyone knows what snoring is and many jokes are made about it.

But the loud noise made during the night is not a joking matter. If you have a spouse it may be a source of marital tension – your partner cannot sleep soundly because of the snoring, and often separate bedrooms are the result.

Or maybe it’s your spouse that’s keeping you awake!

But…snoring may or may not be a sign of a more serious condition: Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea, or OSA, is a condition when the upper airway relaxes when you fall asleep. The result may be partial airway closure (hypopnea) or complete airway closure (apnea). When this happen your brain will wake from a deep sleep due to the feeling of suffocation and inject adrenaline into the bloodstream to increase the muscle tone and reopen the airway. After a few breaths your body will relax, causing the airway to close down again and the process becomes a vicious cycle throughout the night. This is often accompanied by snoring and it is not unusual to experience gasping for air.

Is OSA serious? You bet!
Long-term oxygen deprivation of the brain can lead to hypertension, weight gain, stroke and heart disease just to name a few. The ill effects during pregnancy have recently be identified as complications of OSA.

What can be done?
First, a diagnosis must be made. If mild to moderate OSA is diagnosed, a custom oral appliance from our office can be constructed. If your OSA is severe, a CPAP is usually prescribed. If you are unable to wear a CPAP, an oral appliance can be prescribed instead, however, the CPAP is the first option for severe OSA.

What can we do here at Westlake Family Dental Care?
If you have had a sleep study and desire an oral appliance, we can do that.
If you are concerned whether you have a sleep disorder, come in for a consultation and we can discuss your individual circumstances and make recommendations as far as treatment.
If you feel you just snore, we can make an appliance solely for snoring and you and your spouse will be thankful. But again, snoring may be a sign of a more serious condition which must be ruled out.

If interested, call for a free sleep consultation. We’re here to help.