Sleep apnea can be a potentially life threatening condition. Unlike simple snoring, a sufferer of sleep apnea will stop breathing for as much as a minute to a minute and a half. This can happen many times during the night. As a result, the person will awaken in order to restart the breathing process. This causes sleep deprivation leading to lack of alertness and drowsiness during the day. It is important that cases of sleep apnea be diagnosed by a physician. If there is airway obstruction, many times, surgical procedures can be performed to alleviate the problem.
A C-PAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine may be prescribed. A specially fitted nosepiece is worn at night during sleep. It helps to keep the airway open, prevent snoring, and stops interruptions in breathing. There are some sufferers who can be helped with oral appliances that bring the mandible (lower jaw) forward, helping to open the airway. It can be helpful for those who have difficulty wearing a C-PAP machine at night. A physician should make the decision as to whether to try the oral appliance or not. If so, our office can construct an appliance to see if it alleviates the problem.