Suzanne Haley DMD PCBy Suzanne Haley, D.M.D., P.C.
Just about everyone snores occasionally, and there are many reasons why: age, a head cold, being out of shape, certain medications, sleeping on your back. When snoring isn’t normal is when it is loud, happens frequently, and affects the quantity and quality of your sleep and that of others in your home. Snoring such as this could indicate obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), the most common version of sleep apnea. It can, however, be a potentially life-threatening condition that requires medical attention, and can affect anyone regardless of age, weight or gender.
OSA occurs during sleep due to the narrowing or total closure of the airway, creating gasping or choking and causing breathing to stop. The brain detects the lack of oxygen, which prompts a momentary arousal in order to draw a breath. Although OSA sufferers may experience hundreds of apnea episodes per night, they are unlikely to remember any of them.
Chronic sleep interference can lead to fatigue, making the snorer and their bed partner suffer prolonged effects including poor concentration, slow reflexes, poor work performance, awakening unrested, and falling asleep at inappropriate times. Untreated, OSA can lead to serious health problems over time, including diabetes, high blood pressure, weight gain, heart disease and stroke.
All snorers should be evaluated by a physician, an ear, nose and throat doctor or a sleep disorder specialist to get a correct diagnosis and before pursuing treatment, especially if you experience the following:
- Gasping or stopping breathing during sleep
- Feeling tired or groggy upon awakening, or awakening with a headache
- Fatigue during daytime hours
- Falling asleep sitting, reading, watching TV or driving
- Problems with memory or concentration
My staff and I will work closely with your physician or specialist, reviewing your sleep-breathing problems to determine the best course of therapy. There are different treatments for sleep apnea; my office offers SomnoDent®, an oral appliance therapy that can be very effective solution. Your appliance will be custom-made and fitted, and is worn during sleep in the mouth like an orthodontic appliance. The design treats OSA by preventing airway obstruction and allowing patients to breathe easily and continuously throughout the night, and must be worn every night for it to be effective.
I will monitor your progress with the appliance and will guide you during your treatment. You will be seen in my office several times to ensure correct fit, acceptance and effectiveness of the treatment. The oral appliance should resolve your snoring and daytime tiredness through gentle and gradual repositioning of the lower jaw. Once therapy is completed, you will continue to be monitored on six-month or one-year intervals. We will also assist you in filing your medical insurance with a proper diagnosis to help you get reimbursed.
Please call our office for a free consultation and begin dreaming your way to a restful night’s sleep for you and your bed partner.