Sleep Apnea

Sleep Apnea Q & A

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea describes a condition that causes brief but repeated pauses in breathing during sleep. Each pause lasts at least 10 seconds, and you can experience hundreds of them per night.

The sleep interruptions happen when muscles at the back of your throat collapse and don’t keep your airway open. Your brain detects a lack of oxygen and a buildup of carbon dioxide, so it awakens you to resume normal breathing. You may not be aware of these pauses, but they do disturb your normal sleep cycle.

What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?

Heavy, frequent snoring is often a telltale sign of sleep apnea. Other common signs include:

  • Waking up with a dry mouth, sore throat, or headache
  • Excessive sleepiness during the day
  • Irritability and daytime fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Choking or gasping sounds while sleeping

Persistent sleep apnea can cause oxygen starvation and sleep deprivation, which can lead to mood problems and increase your risk of heart disease and hypertension.

What types of issues can Invisalign address?

Invisalign treatments correct smiles with a variety of problems, including:

  • Overbites and underbites
  • Crossbites and open bites
  • Crowded or gapped teeth
  • Generally crooked teeth

Dr. Marino maps out your smile goal and how the aligners will gradually make it happen. On average, the Invisalign treatment takes 12-18 months. Adults and teens benefit from treatment.

How can a dentist help with sleep apnea?

Dental appliances offer an effective solution for mild to moderate sleep apnea, or for anyone who can’t tolerate the continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine.

Customized dental appliances move your lower jaw forward, which effectively increases the size of the airway, or restrains the tongue from falling back and blocking the airway. Both have the effect of keeping the airway open to prevent the sleep disturbances associated with sleep apnea.

What are the benefits of using a dental appliance to treat sleep apnea?

Patients report they find oral appliances much more comfortable to use than the noisy, bulky CPAP machine. Other benefits include:

  • Easier travel with an oral appliance
  • No noise or disturbance for your sleep partner
  • Easy to clean
  • Custom fit

Most people experience a difference in their sleep apnea symptoms after one night of using an oral appliance. The devices also treat the snoring associated with sleep apnea, making for a quieter bedroom for you and your partner.

If you suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, consider a dental appliance as a quick, effective, and non intrusive solution. Call Dr. Marino’s office or book an appointment online today.