Sleep apnea and snoring are caused by airway obstruction when you sleep at night. The soft tissues of the throat relax so much that they block the airway and force you to breathe through the mouth. Apnea events happen when you stop breathing entirely, causing you to wake briefly so you can breathe again. Treatment for obstructive sleep apnea can have an immediate benefit of reducing snoring (and helping you and your spouse get better sleep!). In the long run, however, OSA treatment can actually save your life.
Are you interested in learning about treatment for sleep apnea and snoring? Contact Texas Oral Surgery Specialists for an appointment with Dr. Chris Tye.
Untreated OSA Can Ruin Your Health
Medical science has made many important discoveries regarding sleep apnea in the past 20 years. We now know that sleep apnea robs you of more than just good quality sleep. When you don’t breathe properly at night, you don’t take in adequate oxygen. This can affect how well all your organ systems function and reduce your body’s ability to fight off disease.
Untreated sleep apnea has been associated with:
- Cardiac disease
- High blood pressure
- Alzheimer’s disease
In addition to the significant potential health effects of sleep apnea, it also causes a decline in cognitive function. When you are constantly waking to catch your breath at night, this disrupts your sleep cycle. Human beings need a certain amount of sustained rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep in order to get the full restorative and regenerative benefits of sleep. Each time you gasp and wake, you disrupt the sleep cycle—even if you are unaware it has happened. Patients with OSA often feel exhausted even after getting a full 8 hours of sleep because their sleep quality has been so greatly diminished. Your brain feels tired, too! Some effects can include:
- Poor memory
- Inability to learn new concepts, focus, or concentrate
- Mood swings
- Depression and anxiety
- Periods of microsleep when performing repetitive tasks (like driving)
CPAP-Free Treatment May Be Possible
If you’ve been diagnosed with sleep apnea by a doctor, you’ve probably been prescribed a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine to use when you sleep. This device counteracts apneas by pushing a steady stream of oxygen through the airway to keep it open. However, not every patient will have success using a CPAP. Many patients find it too noisy, uncomfortable, or incompatible with their natural sleeping position. Some patients try very hard to wear their CPAP device, but wind up removing it in their sleep.
If you fit into this category, ask Dr. Chris Tye whether you might be a good candidate for oral appliance therapy or surgery. Oral splint therapy gently repositions the jaw in order to keep the airway open. When the jaw is brought forward ever-so-slightly, the position of the soft tissues adjusts so the airway can remain functional. Oral appliance therapy is less invasive than a CPAP device, as it feels similar to a dental retainer or customized night guard. In some cases, Laser Assisted Uvulopalatoplasty (LAUP) or the Pillar® Procedure may be possible surgical solutions. During your consultation, we will assess the unique vibrations and positioning of the soft tissues in your throat to make a recommendation for treatment.
Call Texas Oral Surgery Specialists to learn more about sleep apnea and snoring treatment. Dr. Christopher Tye is an oral surgeon and a dentist, so he can help you understand your sleep breathing problems and suggest appropriate treatments. Call us today at (817) 522-3223 for an appointment.