Snore and Sleep
Apnea is a condition in which breathing stops for short periods during the night. There are two types of sleep apnea, Central and Obstructive. Obstructive sleep apnea is by far the most common type, being one of the most under-diagnosed diseases in America. It is estimated that about 20 million Americans suffer from Obstructive Sleep Apnea, or OSA. Snoring and OSA are frequently linked. Snoring is a symptom of sleep apnea. It has been estimated that 70-75% of people who snore have OSA in some degree.
Why should I be concerned?
During the night, the airway becomes blocked by the tongue and other soft tissues falling back into the airway. Each time this happens, the oxygen level in the brain decreases, and the brain activates the body’s self-defense network, called the Sympathetic Nervous System. When it is activated, the Sympathetic Nervous System increases both heart rate and blood pressure. Normally this would not be a problem, but it can occur hundreds of times throughout a single night’s sleep, increasing a person’s risk of serious disease or even death.
In addition, each time the blood oxygen level drops low enough, the body wakes up for just an instant. It happens so quickly that the sufferer doesn’t even know that they were aroused. This can happen hundreds of times in a night, leaving the person very sleep deprived.
People who are untreated for OSA are at greater risk of health problems such as Diabetes, Stroke, Heart Attack, High Blood Pressure, Obesity, and Depression. It has been estimated that each year there are 50,000 people who are involved in Motor Vehicle Accidents (MVA) directly related to OSA. The productivity ration in people who are untreated for OSA is at least 10% lower than normal, costing the U.S. Economy approximately $75 Billion each year.
It is estimated that less than half of the patients who have CPAP machines
comply with them or are able to tolerate them. Side effects include bloody noses, dry and chapped nasal areas, raw skin from the mask, and difficulty sleeping due to the mask.
Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT) involves the selection, design, and fitting of a specially designed oral appliance that, when worn to bed, maintains an open and unobstructed airway. As sleep apnea treatments these appliances look similar to sports mouth guards and are designed to treat snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnea. They work by repositioning the lower jaw, tongue, soft palate, and/or uvula. They also increase the muscle tone of the tongue and structures of the throat.
CPAP stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. It is a machine that is the most common of sleep apnea treatments. The CPAP attaches to the face with a mask and blows a continuous stream of pressurized air into the patient’s airway, preventing the patient from experiencing Apneic events. The pressurized air moves at about 50 miles per hour, blowing all tissue and structures out of the way.
Snoring can be a real problem, not only for the person who snores, but also for the partner and other family members who live with the snorer. However, there is a dentist-prescribed solution for a more restful night’s sleep: Silent Nite® sl. This affordable device is flexible, thin and comfortable for your patients, and it exhibits documented clinical success in mitigating or even preventing the disruptive, unhealthy effects of snoring and sleep apnea.
Silent Nite sl positions the lower jaw forward using special Side-Link connectors that are attached to upper and lower trays. These trays are comprised of a soft inner layer with a hard outer layer that is durable and BPA-free. This intraoral appliance is indicated for patients with a minimum of eight teeth per jaw and a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or less.