Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a serious chronic condition in which your throat collapses and temporarily blocks your upper airway while you sleep, depriving your body of oxygen. OSA has many side effects that can be potentially harmful to your oral health as well as your overall well-being, so proper diagnosis and treatment is essential for your long-term health.
If you or your partner notices any of the symptoms below, contact Palmieri Dentistry as soon as possible:
Serious complications can come from untreated sleep apnea, including diabetes, hypertension, and depression. If left untreated, you also significantly increase your risk of stroke and heart attack as well as auto accidents.
What causes obstructive sleep apnea?
There are many causes of OSA, but the following factors can increase your risk:
How is obstructive sleep apnea diagnosed?
Dr. Palmieri uses a Planmeca® 3D X-ray machine to measure the volume of your upper airway, but there are many ways to diagnose obstructive sleep apnea. For example, you can record the volume of your snoring and gauge your airflow with sensors.
Can obstructive sleep apnea be treated?
There are different OSA treatment options available depending on the severity of your condition. For mild to moderate cases, Dr. Palmieri’s first choice is a mandibular advancement device, a specialized mouthpiece that helps keep your upper airway open during sleep. It realigns your jaw and hyoid bone to prevent your throat’s soft tissues from collapsing while you sleep and cutting off airflow. Dr. Palmieri will customize your oral appliance to fit in your mouth as comfortably as possible, so you will sleep soundly (and so will your partner).
For severe OSA, Dr. Palmieri may recommend maxillomandibular advancement (MMA) surgery instead, which permanently corrects throat or facial problems that interrupt your breathing.
Of course, these treatments often work best in conjunction with lifestyle changes to help you lose excess weight and sleep better, such dietary changes, cutting back on alcohol consumption, avoiding sleeping pills, and trying to sleep on your side or front instead of your back.