Snoring is a common problem for many people, but for those who snore loudly it can be an indication of a more serious health issue: obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). This condition causes a person to repeatedly stop breathing during sleep, depriving the brain of oxygen and disrupting the natural sleep pattern. People with OSA typically awaken feeling tired and fatigued, even though they have been “sleeping” for 8 hours! OSA has been linked to several health issues, including obesity, tobacco and alcohol use.
People with OSA are also at a greater risk of heart attack, stroke, diabetes and heart failure. OSA occurs when the soft tissue at the back of the mouth collapses into the airway, creating a blockage momentarily that is cleared with a loud snore. Many people don’t realize they have any type of sleep apnea, and those who do don’t typically think to mention it when visiting the dentist.
Dr. John Cranham offers his Chesapeake area dental patients treatment for sleep apnea and OSA and can perform a comprehensive evaluation of the structures of the mouth to determine what type of therapy may be most effective. Most patients will be prescribed an oral appliance, or snore guard, that is to be worn at night. This appliance is similar to a mouth guard worn for sports and is custom fit. It will align the jaw and and prevent the soft tissue at the back of the mouth from creating a blockage and disrupting sleep.
Most patients prefer oral appliance therapy for treating sleep apnea, finding it a more convenient option when compared to the CPAP machine.
Dr. Cranham can effectively treat sleep apnea and greatly reduce the risk of health issues that can develop if it goes untreated. Contact Dr. Cranham in his Chesapeake, VA dental office to schedule a consultation and discuss your options.