Snoring is often not just the result of a stuffy nose or bad sleeping position, it can also be the sign of a health concern called Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), which has been linked to a greater risk of stroke, heart disease and other physical health issues. Patients who suffer from OSA actually stop breathing momentarily during sleep, depriving their organs of much needed oxygen, and then restart with a loud snore.
OSA is frequently the result of a blocked airway and is more common in patients who are overweight, have a large neck and/or have enlarged tonsils. OSA can sometimes be difficult to diagnose, but there are several key symptoms that many experience and that should be brought to the attention of your doctor or dentist:
- Loud snoring- sometimes only noticed by family members
- Morning headaches
- Feeling groggy or unable to concentrate, even after a “good night’s sleep”
- Sleepiness during the day or while driving
- Insomnia or frequently waking up at night
- A consistent sore or dry throat in the morning
Dr. Tom Prendergast of Infinity Dental recommends oral appliance therapy for many patients who snore or have mild to moderate OSA. In some cases, patients may perform a test at home which can be analyzed by their physician and coordinated with Dr. Prendergast for treatment with an oral appliance, or snore guard.
While the CPAP machine is often recommended and considered the “gold standard” for treatment of OSA, oral appliance therapy can also be very effective because of higher rates of compliance among patients. Most patients prefer oral appliance therapy, find it to be a more comfortable option and are therefore more likely to use it consistently.
OSA can be a debilitating health issue when unresolved, affecting daily life for many as well as posing greater health risks.
Discuss your concerns during a visit with Dr. Prendergast in his Fox Lake dental office and restore your health with a better night’s sleep!