Are you losing sleep due to loud or disruptive snoring?
Snoring is often not just the result of a stuffy nose or bad sleeping position, it can also be the sign of an overall health concern called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which has been linked to an increased risk for stroke, heart attack and other physical health issues. Patients who suffer from OSA actually stop breathing momentarily during sleep, depriving their organs of much needed oxygen, and then restart with a loud snore.
OSA is frequently the result of a blocked airway and is more common in patients who are overweight, have a large neck and/or have enlarged tonsils. OSA can sometimes be difficult to diagnose, but there are several key symptoms that many experience and that should be brought to the attention of your doctor or dentist:
- Loud snoring- sometimes only noticed by family members
- Morning headaches
- Feeling groggy or unable to concentrate, even after a “good night’s sleep”
- Sleepiness during the day or while driving
- Insomnia or frequently waking up at night
- A consistent sore or dry throat in the morning
Dr. Davis often recommends oral appliance therapy for his patients who snore or have been diagnosed with mild to moderate OSA. In some cases, he may coordinate an at home sleep test with their regular physician for an accurate diagnosis of a sleep disorder.
Treating Sleep Apnea
While the CPAP machine is often recommended and considered the “gold standard” for treatment of OSA, oral appliance therapy can also be very effective because of higher rates of compliance among patients. Most patients prefer oral appliance therapy to be a more comfortable option and are therefore more likely to use it consistently. Dr. Davis will order a custom fit oral appliance which will position the jaw correctly and prevent soft tissue at the back of the mouth from collapsing during sleep. Maintaining an open airway enables patients to rest without snoring and reduces the risks associated with sleep apnea.
OSA can be a debilitating health issue when unresolved, affecting daily life for many as well as posing greater health risks. If you are concerned about snoring or have experienced the above mentioned symptoms, schedule a consultation with Dr. Davis in Worcester to discuss your health concerns and treatment options.