Sleep is important. It gives your body time to rest and repair itself. It is also imperative for your mental, emotional, and physical well beings. Sleep allows you to function properly throughout the day, think clearly, keep control of your emotions, and keep your body healthy. If you have sleep apnea, however, getting the sleep you need to function in your daily life can seem impossible. At National Dental Williston Park, we can help with oral appliance therapy.

Sleep Apnea

There’s a lot that goes on while you sleep. Your body goes through different cycles, and completing these cycles is essential for achieving rest and repair, and helping you to wake refreshed. When you have sleep apnea, your sleep cycles are disrupted. This is because, while you sleep, you stop breathing (what is known as an apneic event). This event can last from just a couple of seconds to a minute a half. Every time your breathing stops, you wake up, even if you are completely unaware of it happening. Sleep apnea ranges in severity from mild (5 to 14 apneic events per sleeping hour) to severe (more than 30 apneic events per sleeping hour).

Types of Sleep Apnea

There are three different types of sleep apnea:

  • Obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA. This type of sleep apnea occurs when your airway becomes blocked (usually by your tongue or other oral tissues). It is the most common type.
  • Central sleep apnea. This type of sleep apnea occurs when there is a failure of communication between your brain and the muscles of the body that control breathing.
  • Complex, or mixed, sleep apnea. This type of sleep apnea is a combination of both OSA and central sleep apnea.

What are the Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?

There are several symptoms that can point to sleep apnea:

  • Snoring.
  • Daytime sleepiness.
  • Falling asleep at work or even while driving.
  • Difficulty focusing.
  • You may have trouble controlling your emotions or becoming agitated easily.
  • Health issues, such as hypertension.

How is Sleep Apnea Diagnosed?

If you suspect you have sleep apnea, it is important that you be seen for a diagnosis. Diagnosing sleep apnea involves a sleep study, performed by a trained sleep expert. At National Dental, we work with a vast network of highly qualified sleep professionals. They will be able to not only diagnose your sleep apnea (or other sleep related issues) but help you to manage your treatments as well.

Oral Appliance Therapy

C-PAP (continuous positive airway pressure) is a common treatment for sleep apnea. A small mask is worn over your nose, and a machine delivers air, while you sleep. While effective, some patients do not respond to this particular treatment. Some patients simply do not want to be bothered with it. We provide an alternative.

If you have mild to moderate sleep apnea, oral appliance therapy may be able to help. Oral appliance therapy involves the use of a custom fit oral device that is similar in appearance to a sports mouth guard. The oral appliance is designed and created based on a 3-dimensional image of your mouth. It holds your jaw in proper alignment and prevents it from sliding back while you sleep. This then keeps your oral tissues in place and your airway clear, allowing you to finally get a good night’s sleep.

If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, oral appliance therapy may be able to help. Call National Dental Williston Park at (516) 686-9780 to learn more and schedule your appointment today.