What Is Sleep Apnea?

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Sleep apnea is a breathing condition that affects millions of Americans, and countless others around the world. It is also undiagnosed in a great many of them.

During the day, breathing seems smooth and automatic. Our air passages stay open and strong, due to our consciousness and upright posture. At night, all this changes.

The moment we lie down, gravity takes over, everything relaxes, and our breathing in general becomes deeper. This can be a triple threat. Passages that are too relaxed will actually collapse in on themselves, effectively cutting off all breathing.

The lungs will do their best to get air, but sometimes they can’t do it alone. The brain, not having any other choice, will wake up the sleeper, who immediately starts breathing again. This only happens for a microsecond. Usually, it’s so quick that no one remembers waking up at all.

Unfortunately, even a moment is enough to interrupt a sleep cycle. To make matters worse, this can happen as many as hundreds of times in a single night. The next morning, the unsuspecting person will wake up thinking that they’ve had a complete night’s rest.

The Consequences of Sleep Apnea

Did you know that 1 in 5 adults have at least a mild form of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)?1

Sleep apnea is characterized by chronic snoring, extreme daytime exhaustion, restless nights, and sometimes even depression. It often seems relatively harmless – what’s a little heavy snoring, after all? In fact, this condition can dramatically affect the health of anyone who suffers from it.

One distinct side effect is low oxygen. Without deep, uninhibited breathing, the blood isn’t able to get sufficient levels of oxygen to the body systems that need it. This, in turn, can lead to more severe conditions, such as increased blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease.

Extreme exhaustion also lowers the body’s immune response because it doesn’t have the energy to fight off developing illnesses. Sleep apnea can also cause memory problems, weight gain, headaches, and other serious health complications.

What Do I Do About It?

Turn to the Sleep Apnea experts at Fairchance Dental Arts for needed relief. We have over 10 combined years of experience studying and treating sleep-related breathing disorders in adults and children and have the latest technology to help us screen for and treat these conditions in our Fairchance area office.

There are two traditional approaches to sleep apnea. One treatment is the use of a CPAP machine. The other involves a custom-designed oral appliance.

CPAP | Simply put, this is a machine that pumps a continuous stream of air through a mask. While wearing this mask at night, the pressurized air keeps passages open, allowing you to breath, and your body to finally rest. This is considered to be the most effective apnea treatment available.

Oral Appliances | These appliances are essentially custom mouth guards. They are much more low maintenance than a CPAP, and convenient for travel. The mouth guards work by keeping your jaw and tongue from collapsing backward at night, which helps to keep the airways open.

After a thorough consult and diagnosis, we can prescribe the best approach to treat your airway dysfunction and help stop its progression into more severe health problems.

If you or anyone you know suffers from symptoms like these, it may be an indication that you have sleep apnea. Fairchance Dental Arts will help you on your way to the good night’s rest you deserve. Give us a call today.

1: US Dept of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

I was very glad that I went to Fairchance Dental. They took me in right away. The staff was more than friendly. They listened to me. They took their time with me. I made an appointment not only for me but also for my husband. I was very glad I went. Dr. Caleb was very nice. Everyone was very nice.
– Paulette B.