Snoring can be a sign of a medical condition not only damaging to you health, but also to your relationship with your bed partner. All kidding aside snoring is no laughing matter (although your bed partner is probably is not thrilled about it). Snoring can be sign that your airway is not open and there can be a possible obstruction. Some snorers spend most of the night gasping for air due to a condition called Sleep Apnea. Sleep Apnea causes pauses in your breath interrupting your sleep and decreasing your blood oxygen levels. These sudden drops in blood oxygen levels during sleep apnea episodes increases your blood pressure and overworks the cardiovascular system and other major organs. If you have obstructive sleep apnea you have a higher risk of developing High Blood Pressure. Obstructive sleep apnea will also increase your risk of Heart Attack, Abnormal Heartbeats, and Stroke. If you already suffer from any Heart disease, you should be aware that multiple episodes of low blood oxygen (hypoxia or hypoxemia) can lead to sudden death from an irregular heartbeat. Most people who have sleep apnea don’t know they have it, a family member or bed partner will often be first to notice signs and will ask their sleep partner to seek treatment. Many snorers at this point will either call their doctor for a referral to a Sleep Dentist that can make them a custom oral appliance or hope they find some sort of “DIY boil and bite” online or at a local drug store.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) has approved oral appliance therapy (OAT) as a first line treatment for patients diagnosed with Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Cheap, over-the-counter appliances are clinically unproven and can be potentially dangerous. Just because they are inexpensive and convenient does not mean you should try them! Do you remember the saying ” You get what you pay for?” Most of these oral appliances are not FDA approved for Sleep Apnea despite their claims of being effective and proven to help. When these boil and bites are not fitted properly, (which is often the case since most people are not dental professionals that have experience taking proper impressions of teeth) these over-the-counter appliances can cause unwanted side effects, such as jaw problems, tooth movement or can even have an adverse effect- worsening your sleep apnea. At the Raphaelson Dental Sleep Center, we use the best materials and labs to create a custom, comfortable, and durable oral appliance with a precise fit. Also, we follow up on all oral appliance treatment with a diagnostic sleep study ensuring that the oral appliance fits and functions properly, treating Sleep Apnea. Another issue with these “do it your self oral appliances” according to Dr. Alan Lowe, professor of orthodontics at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, is that they mask a relief in snoring without addressing the apnea. Many people often overlook what is called “silent apnea” that could still threaten their health or even lead to death.
So here is The Bottom Line- People with Sleep Apnea need to seek professional help from a doctor or a dental sleep specialist. If an oral appliance is an option for you, it should be fitted by a dentist specially trained in Dental Sleep Medicine. All of our dental sleep specialists at the Raphaelson Dental Sleep Center are qualified and trained in Dental Sleep Medicine, offering our patients optimal care in diagnosing and treating Sleep Apnea. If you believe you have Sleep Apnea please call our office for a complimentary Airway Evaluation. Most major medical insurances are accepted and offer benefits for Oral Appliance Therapy. Let us help you “Transform your sleep, and Redefine your Health”