The American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine estimates that more than 18 million people in this country suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), and many never seek treatment. If you have OSA, the condition is probably interrupting more than your sleep. It is likely affecting your health and disrupting your romantic relationship. The doctors at West Chester Dental Group are helping to restore bedroom bliss for couples in the Cincinnati area, with effective sleep apnea treatment.
The OSA cycle
Snoring is the vibration of oral soft tissues when the airway becomes narrowed. Most people snore on occasion – when they have head colds, a few drinks, or fall asleep in an awkward position. Chronic snoring, though, is a primary symptom of the much more serious disorder called OSA.
You begin by relaxing into sleep. Soft tissues at the back of your throat start to collapse, usually causing snoring. As you reach a deeper stage of sleep, the airway becomes obstructed, blocking the flow of oxygen to your lungs, brain, and heart. Breathing ceases or becomes very shallow for several seconds, up to a few minutes. Your brain senses a dire threat and sends a surge of adrenalin in defense. You cough, snort, choke, or jerk into semi-wakefulness. Then the cycle repeats – hundreds of times during the night.
How it affects relationships
In addition to increasing risk of heart attack, stroke, diabetes, obesity, depression, cognitive dysfunction, impaired judgment, irritability, and workplace and auto accidents, OSA increases your risk of relationship strife.
At a conscious level, your partner understands that you are not intentionally causing repeated sleep interruptions, but feeling of helplessness in resolving the issue can foster deep resentment. Nightly migration to the sofa or spare bedroom erodes feelings of closeness and physically inhibits a healthy love life.
How dentistry can help
Once the existence and severity of OSA is properly diagnosed by a physician through a sleep study, the usual prescription is a CPAP machine. It holds the airway open with a constant flow of air delivered through a facemask. CPAP works very well – if you use it. The compliance rate is low because most patients simply can’t sleep attached to a bulky, noisy machine or tolerate the mask.
West Chester Dental Group treats sleep apnea with a discreet oral appliance. This small device is custom fitted to your mouth. It holds the jaw slightly forward, and keeps the tongue depressed, allowing you to breathe freely during sleep. Patients typically adapt quickly to wearing the retainer-sized device, and it is ideal for travel.
For those who suffer severe OSA, an oral appliance increases the effectiveness of CPAP therapy.
Isn’t it time to cuddle up to a real alternative to separate sleeping quarters? Call West Chester Dental Group today at (513)942-8181 to schedule a sleep apnea consultation.
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