Treating Snoring and Sleep Apnea Through Dentistry

Dentistry is not just limited to the cleaning and care of teeth. One of Howard County dentist Dr. Ray Becker’s special interests is in the treatment of sleep related breathing disorders.

With his advanced training and certification, Dr. Becker can provide lasting relief from snoring and sleep apnea symptoms.

Why is Snoring a Problem?

While snoring alone is not a major medical concern, it may be an indication of a more serious condition called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Snoring occurs when the soft tissue structures of the upper airway collapse and vibrate during sleep, producing the sound known as snoring. The prevalence of sleep apnea increases with age and it is estimated that as many as 50% of elderly men and women suffer from the disorder.

About Sleep Apnea

obstructive-sleep-apneaObstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common of the sleep-related breathing disorders. Patients who suffer with OSA stop breathing repeatedly during their sleep, caused by a blockage of the airway usually caused when the soft tissue in the back of the mouth collapses. A person with sleep apnea may wake 50 or more times per hour — that's almost once a minute! — without having any memory of it. These awakenings, called micro-arousals, last just long enough to restore muscle tone to the airway so the individual can breathe. Unfortunately, all those micro-arousals preclude deep and restful sleep.

What to Look Out For

Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a serious matter as it can lead to heart problems and other health issues. It's possible you may have OSA if you snore and also suffer from any of the following:

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Irritability
  • Poor memory/confusion
  • Accident proneness
  • Night sweats
  • Morning headaches
  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity

Snoring & Sleep Apnea Treatment

oral-appliance-mouthguard

Treatment for OSA will vary based on the individual diagnosis. Certain lifestyle changes can help to alleviate the symptoms of OSA including weight loss, smoking cessation and eliminating alcohol and sedative use.

While the CPAP is considered the gold standard for treating OSA, oral appliance therapy has shown to be the preferred treatment among most patients. An oral appliance is small, discreet and comfortable to wear, resulting in better compliance and better results. Dr. Becker can fabricate a custom made sleep apnea appliance for you to wear during sleep.