There are three forms of sleep apnea: obstructive, central, and mixed. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common and occurs when your throat muscles relax so much that your tongue or fatty tissues in the throat fall into the airways and block airflow. This is a mechanical issue that often causes loud snoring and is treated successfully with oral appliances.
Central sleep apnea (CSA) occurs when your brain fails to remind your body to breathe, and often requires treatment for underlying conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and other neurological disorders. Mixed sleep apnea is a combination of obstructive and central sleep apnea.
When your body isn’t receiving the oxygen it needs during sleep, it sends signals that wake up the brain to remind it you need to breathe. People with obstructive sleep apnea can experience hundreds of apneic episodes in a night. This severely disrupts sleep patterns. These waking episodes are often accompanied by loud gasping, choking, or snorting sounds as your body attempts to fight past the obstruction.
Other symptoms that may indicate you’re having problems with OSA include:
A sleep apnea appliance is considered a highly effective treatment option for OSA. The device is worn during sleep and is reminiscent of a sports mouth guard or orthodontic retainer. It moves your jaw forward slightly to maintain an open airway. This prevents your tongue and throat tissue from blocking your airway during sleep.
Many patients prefer oral appliance therapy compared to CPAP because they’re:
There are various models and styles of oral appliances available for the treatment of OSA. Dr. Pak uses digital imaging or physical impressions to ensure the correct dimensions are used in creating your appliance. These measurements are sent to a lab and the oral appliance is then custom-made to fit your mouth. This helps significantly with comfort and ease of use.