Snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) are caused by the airway narrowing or even occluding during sleep. This can be due to large tonsils, a long soft uvula or excessive tissue in people who are overweight. The most common cause of narrowing of the airway at the base of the tongue is a tongue muscle that relaxes too much during sleep, and then gets pulled back into the throat with each breath. Partial blockage causes the soft tissues in the throat to vibrate and the result is snoring. Obstructive Sleep Apnea occurs when the tongue pulls back and completely blocks breathing. These sleep disorders pose a serious risk to a person’s health and personal relationships.
The first step in treatment resides in recognition of the symptoms and seeking appropriate consultation. Your Family Medical doctor may evaluate you or have you see a pulmonologist, a specialist in Sleep Medicine.
There are several treatment options available. An initial treatment may consist of using a nasal CPAP machine that delivers pressurized oxygen through a nasal mask to limit obstruction at night. Some patients may pursue surgical options. Others chose to treat their sleep apnea with appliances that reposition the lower jaw and the tongue in a way similar to CPR rescue breathing. In some patients this technique allows the individual to breathe without a CPAP machine or surgical intervention. With a prescription from your Medical Doctor or Sleep Medicine Specialist, Dr. Wood can fabricate a sleep apnea appliance.
If you do not have sleep apnea but routinely snore at night, anti-snoring appliances can aid in the reduction or the elimination of snoring in many patients.
Feel free to contact our dental office in Glendale at 623-561-2400 for more information about these services.