Snoring is incredibly common. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, at least half of all people snore at some in their lives. There are a lot of causes—allergies, sinus infections, poor muscle tone in the throat, and being overweight are all among the most common ones. Yet, these causes all lead to the same problem—blocked airways. The snoring itself consists of structures in the body vibrating and bumping into each other, causing the loud noise that is usually considered the worst part of the problem.
Occasional snoring is not a particularly noteworthy health concern, but habitual snoring can indicate a more serious issue – sleep apnea, when breathing is disrupted during sleep. This condition made headlines it contributed to the death of Reggie White, a Hall of Fame NFL player. Sufferers of sleep apnea deal with a wide array of problems, interruptions of breathing, frequent waking from sleep, light sleeping, and strain on the heart.
“It can cause high blood pressure, heart problems, type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndromes,” said Tiffiny Sperry, Dental Hygienist and Office Manager for Sleep Airway Solutions/Dental Arts Group. “There’s also daytime fatigue, which can contribute to vehicular or workplace accidents, and that’s on top of having a sleep deprived bed partner.”
There are a handful of ways to treat sleep apnea, including CPAP machines. These devices send a constant flow of air pressure to the throat, keeping airways open and unobstructed during sleep. They are a fantastic tool, but can occasionally be somewhat inconvenient since users need to wear a mask and sleep near the machine that powers the airflow.
Sleep Airway Solutions offers another option, oral appliance therapy. An oral appliance is a simple and effective object worn during sleep that fits like a mouth guard or retainer. Unlike a CPAP machine, which uses a pressured airflow, the oral appliance simply supports the jaw in a forward position, helping keep the upper airway open and thereby reducing snoring and obstructed breathing.
“We’ve had a lot of people say, ‘Oh my gosh, I feel so much more refreshed,’” Sperry said. “You don’t physically notice things like your blood pressure, but you wake up feeling so much more refreshed. I had one patient, an older gentleman whose wife was becoming somewhat noncognitive, report that his wife came out of her fog [after using an oral appliance].”
With the help of experts such as Sleep Airway Solutions’ Dr. Michael Uzelac, patients can receive comfortable, adjustable appliances that are both effective and convenient.
“It’s much less of a hassle compared to a CPAP,” Sperry said. “You can turn around at night, it travels well, and there’s no tubing to clean. It can even be used with a CPAP if you feel it’s not enough alone.”
To learn more about Sleep Airway Solutions and to schedule an appointment, visit www.sleepairwaysolutions.com.