Sleep Apnea is a very common sleep disorder that is very serious as it interrupts breathing. Someone with sleep apnea may experience, while asleep, one or more pauses in their breathing, which may last from a few seconds up to a few minutes and may occur up to 30 times in an hour. Someone with sleep apnea usually snores very loudly, has very restless sleep and is often very tired even after a full night’s rest. Breathing is obstructed when the airway collapses or becomes blocked during sleep which causes pauses in breathing or shallow breathing. The struggle to breathe past this blocked airway is what causes the loud snore. Although this condition is more common in people who are overweight, it can affect anyone.
Typically, a person who suffers from sleep apnea will being their sleep breathing normally, then the loud snoring begins, followed by pauses in breathing then a loud snort or choking sound before breathing begins naturally again. This pattern can happen several times during the night for a person with a chronic condition. A person with sleep apnea will often move in and out of deep sleep, which results in a poor quality of sleep making them tired the next day. Sleep apnea is a one of the top reasons for excessive daytime sleepiness.
Sleep apnea is not a condition that can be detected easily during a regular doctor’s visit or a routine medical checkup. Except for extreme sleepiness in the daytime there are no symptoms, thus making it difficult to diagnose. A person who has this disorder doesn’t know they have it, as it only occurs during sleep, unless a bedmate points out the loud snoring or interrupted breathing patterns. Even then, they might not be aware of that they can get help for their condition.
Oral Appliance Therapy for Sleep Apnea
Here in South Florida, Dr. Richard Romay is one of the few trained dentist who can treat Sleep Apnea with the FDA approved Sleep Apnea Oral Appliance Therapy. There are many different types of oral devices available on the market that can treat sleep apnea or snoring. Many of them are very effective in treating minor cases of sleep apnea, and although the may not look appealing, they are very comfortable to use. These oral devices cannot be purchased over the counter so they must be prescribed to you by a physician, and fitted by a dentist or oral surgeon. These oral devices look similar to a sports mouth guard or an orthodontic retainer and worn in the mouth while you sleep to help stabilize your breathing.
Many sleep studies have been conducted in sleep labs by trained sleep lab technician to figure out how to identify and diagnose this condition. If you think that you have this condition, a sleep specialist can provide you with a complete evaluation at a sleep center or at your home. During the evaluation, you will be connected to a monitor as you sleep and the overnight recordings sent to a machine to be analyzed and diagnosed later. If you are found to suffer with this disorder, an oral appliance will be recommended which you can then have properly fitted by an oral surgeon or a trained dentist like Dr. Romay.
Finally, Sleep Apnea has been listed as a serious medical condition and is now covered by most medical insurances as well as Medicare.