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Sleep Apnea - Snoring

Video: TAP Airway Orthotic
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Sleep Disordered Breathing

Sleep Apnea is a dangerous and progressive sleep disorder which gets worse as you age. About 3 million Americans have obstructive sleep apnea. Most cases are diagnosed by spouses or loved ones. Snoring is annoying and interrupts your bed partner’s sleep, which in turn can affect your relationships.

Undiagnosed severe obstructive sleep apnea can be life-threatening and cause a heart attack, stroke, or cardiac arrest during sleep. There is also a risk of auto accidents and accidents at work.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Is your snoring keeping others awake?
  • Do you wake up tired in the morning?
  • Is your snoring causing your partner to become short fused?
  • Do you suffer from headaches?
  • Is your snoring creating less time in bed and more time on the couch?
  • Do you experience acid reflux?
  • Suspect or have High Blood Pressure?
  • Have beginning signs of Insomnia?
  • Do you perspire during sleep?
  • Become awakened by gasping or choking?
Sleep Disordered Breathing (SDB) is defined as labored respiration during sleep caused by airway obstruction.

If you suffer from sleep disordered breathing, as you fall asleep you experience a loss of muscle tone called airway patency. You repeatedly stop breathing, or experience shallow breathing during sleep. This could happen as often as 300+ times a night.

The soft tissues in your airway relax against the tongue, partially cutting off air flow to your lungs. Sleep disordered breathing can be severe to the point of complete airway collapse where your airway gets sucked closed.

Those who suffer from sleep disordered breathing experience breathing difficulty ranging from mild to acute: snoring, upper airway resistance syndrome (UARS), and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is defined by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute as a breathing disorder characterized by brief interruptions during sleep…repeated periods of no breathing for at least 10 seconds at a time. These periods are called apenic events and can last up to two minutes.

Risk Factors Include:

  • Snoring
  • Getting older
  • Family history
  • Weight gain
  • Bruxism (teeth grinding)
  • Progesterone/Estrogen deficiency
  • Anatomy and physiology of the airway
  • Small Jaw, Thick Neck (greater than 17” males, 16” females)
  • Malformation of the orofacial area (misaligned teeth, jaw, palate)
  • Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
  • Menopause

Popular Treatments

The CPAP Mask
A common treatment for treating breathing disorders incorporates the use of a mask that is strapped onto the head at bedtime. Made of plastic, it completely covers the nose and mouth and is connected to a machine with an air hose. This device has become commonly referred to as a CPAP Mask.

Airway Orthotics
A custom fitted ora appliance device, prescribed by your sleep apnea dentist. The appliance is similar to an an athletic mouth guard, but is usually much more comfortable to use.

Click here to watch a short video on the successful use of the TAP appliance. Video material provided by Dr. Ron Briglia, West Chester Pennsylvania.

These appliances allow maximum airway capacity. It gently holds your jaw in the correct position to maintain proper airway flow as you sleep.

Surgical Intervention
These treatments are usually considered invasive and irreversible. They can include:
Many of these irreversible breathing disorder treatment alternatives include:
  • Tonsillectomy - Removal of Tonsils
  • Adenoidectomy - Removal of Adenoids
  • Tracheostomy
  • Gastroplasty
  • Nasal surgery
  • Radiofrequency palatoplasty
  • Maxillomandibular advancement
  • Tongue base suspension
  • Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) - removal of excess throat tissue to widen the airway
Understandably, the most conservative treatment should always be considered. Contact a Sleep Apnea specialist to obtain the diagnostic information you may need for determining if mask devices or airway orthotics can help.

Ask a Question

You also have the option to search for specific videos, by treatment result or procedure. Modify search phrase as needed to refine search results:

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