Snoring is very common in the United States. An estimated 30-50% of the population snores at one time or another. While snoring is usually the basis for jokes in movies and television shows, it can cause serious problems such as:
- Marital Issues
- Sleep Disturbances (from your spouse keeping you up all night)
- Waking at Night (from your own noisy snoring)
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Snoring may be a social problem, but Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a serious, life threatening condition that is characterized by prolonged interruptions of breathing during sleep. Over 20 million Americans suffer from Obstructive Sleep Apnea, and the vast majority of them have not been diagnosed.
Patients suffering from Obstructive Sleep Apnea stop breathing during sleep because tissue in the mouth and throat relax, blocking the airway. These breathing disturbances happen many times each night. In some severe cases, it may occur as many as 60 to 100 times each hour. Often, the patient does not realize it is happening. The noticeable symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea include:
- Excessive Daytime Sleepiness
- Falling Asleep at Work
- High Blood Pressure
- Brain "Fog" (inability to focus well)
New research has linked Obstructive Sleep Apnea to heart disease, stroke, sexual dysfunction, weight gain, and early death. Fortunately, it is easily diagnosed and treated.
While the gold standard for treating Obstructive Sleep Apnea has been CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure), most patients find they cannot tolerate sleeping with a mask and tubing each night. An alternative offered by your dental sleep medicine practitioner, Dr. Donald Wilcox, is oral appliance therapy.
This approach uses a custom made oral appliance to gently move the jaw forward, preventing the airway from being blocked during sleep. Studies have shown that most patients remain compliant using the appliance each night.
Not everyone that snores suffers from obstructive sleep apnea; however, if you suffer from very loud snoring, you should review the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea and discuss testing with Phoenix sleep apnea dentist Dr. Donald Wilcox.
Please contact our Phoenix sleep apnea dentist today to arrange your appointment with Dr. Wilcox and start your journey toward a good night of sleep. Desert Smiles serves patients in Glendale, Peoria, Scottsdale and the greater Phoenix area.