Dr. Edmison Bio
About Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea is a serious medical condition in which the soft tissues at the back of the throat completely close off the airway so that air cannot flow into the lungs. This airway blockage can reduce the amount of oxygen reaching the brain and body. When that happens, the brain alerts the muscles in the airway to tighten up and unblock the air passage. As the air starts to flow into the lungs again, a loud gasp or snort (sometimes called a 'resuscitative snort') is heard. The patient may also sit up or move violently before falling back into a light sleep. Bruxism or Teeth Grinding is also a compensatory mechanism which the body uses to try to keep the airway open. This excessive grinding can cause temporomandibular joint disease.Then breathing (and frequently snoring) begins again. This process of blocking and unblocking the airway causes a significant and very negative disruption of sleep patterns.
When there is a cessation of air flow at the mouth and nose for more than 10 seconds an apnea episode has occurred. If a person experiences 30 or more apnea episodes during a seven hour sleep period they are considered to be suffering from sleep apnea and over time they experience the serious effects of not enough oxygen reaching their vital organs (heart, brain, etc).
Snoring and sleep apnea are sleep disorders which can have very serious health complications and can even be life threatening; therefore, it is imperative that oral appliance therapy commences only after a medical assessment. Following referral from a physician or sleep disorders specialist, patients are examined to determine if they are suitable candidates for oral appliance therapy for snoring and sleep apnea. Not everyone is a good candidate for this treatment. All options should be discussed, including the advantages, limitations, complications and costs.
Once the appliance is fabricated by the laboratory, the appliance is fitted to the patient in the dentist's office. Several weeks may be needed to correctly adjust it to a comfortable and effective position. Semi-annual follow up is recommended during active treatment to ensure a good, comfortable appliance fit and the continued effectiveness of the appliance.
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This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.