Sleep Apnea Appliance
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a serious, potentially deadly sleep disorder that affects millions of Americans, including children. People who have sleep apnea actually stop breathing for 10 seconds to 30 seconds at a time during their sleep, and these episodes can happen up to 400 times every night. Although it would seem like our bodies would immediately respond to a cessation in breathing, unfortunately it can take some patients up to 120 seconds before they begin to breathe again! So why does this happen? Sleep apnea actually comes down to an airway issue. Dr. Coffey says think of it like a garden hose. When you bend a garden hose, most of the water is trapped and can’t get out. Patients with sleep apnea have closed off or restricted airways, especially when they lie down, which causes them to stop breathing.
Who is most affected?
How do I know if me or my child is at risk? Dr. Coffey says sleep apnea can affect men, women, or children of any weight or age. However, overweight men with larger necks tend to be those at the highest risk.
What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?
(Remember, you don’t have to have all of these symptoms to actually be diagnosed with Sleep Apnea. Presenting symptoms and the severity of a cases can vary from person to person)
- Heavy, loud, chronic snoring
- Choking or gasping during sleep
- Long pauses in your breathing during sleep
- Daytime sleepiness (such as falling asleep at work, while driving or when talking)
- Irritability or fatigue
- Headaches, forgetfulness, and a decreased interest in sex
- Waking up with a dry mouth or sore throat
- Waking up feeling out of breath
How is sleep apnea treated?
There are several treatment options for patients suffering from sleep apnea. Depending on the severity of your case, and also what you personally can tolerate, your physician and Dr. Coffey will come up with the best treatment plan for your individual case.
In some cases, a CPAP machine is recommended. CPAP stands for Continuous positive airway pressure therapy. A CPAP machine is basically a mask connected to an air machine that’s worn at night during sleep to help the patient breathe more easily. A CPAP machine increases air pressure in your throat so that your airway does not collapse when you breathe in. Some patients adjust to the CPAP easier than others.
Sleep Apnea Appliances
For patients who can’t tolerate the CPAP, or whose cases don’t warrant using a CPAP device, Dr. Coffey says there are appliances that can be worn at night to move the jaw in a more forward position and keep the airways open. One of the oral appliance devices used at Edward B. Coffey, DDS MS – Encinitas Dental Art to treat sleep apnea is the Herbst appliance. Herbst is a custom-made mandibular repositioning device designed for the treatment of snoring and sleep apnea. The appliance works by repositioning the lower jaw downward and to a slightly more forward position, which allows the airway to remain open throughout the night. Dr. Coffey can discuss your options when it comes to available appliances during your sleep apnea consultation.
If you would like to schedule a FREE consultation for a sleep apnea appliance with Encinitas Dentist, Edward B. Coffey, DDS MS – Encinitas Dental Art, please call us at (760) 942-7272. Hablamos Español.