If you’re one of the 200,000 new patients diagnosed with sleep apnea in the past year, you will require treatment. The complications of untreated sleep apnea extend far beyond chronic snoring, morning headaches, and daytime fatigue. When left untreated, you increase your risk for developing serious health complications, such as an increased risk for stroke and heart disease. Not to mention, your quality of life is greatly reduced as your cognitive abilities and mental health begin to decline. Thankfully, you’re able to treat sleep apnea using the EMA appliance.
What is sleep apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea is a common and serious sleep disorder that causes you to stop breathing during sleep. The airway repeatedly becomes blocked, limiting the amount of air that reaches your lungs. When this happens, you may snore loudly or making choking noises as you try to breathe. Your brain and body becomes oxygen deprived and you may wake up. This may happen a few times a night, or in more severe cases, several hundred times a night.
In many cases, an apnea, or temporary pause in breathing, is caused by the tissue in the back of the throat collapsing. The muscles of the upper airway relax when you fall asleep. If you sleep on your back, gravity can cause the tongue to fall back. This narrows the airway, which reduces the amount of air that can reach your lungs. The narrowed airway causes snoring by making the tissue in back of the throat vibrate as you breathe.
Sleep apnea can make you wake up in the morning feeling tired or unrefreshed even though you have had a full night of sleep. During the day, you may feel fatigued, have difficulty concentrating or you may even unintentionally fall asleep. This is because your body is waking up numerous times throughout the night, even though you might not be conscious of each awakening.
Sleep apnea can affect any one at any age, although men are more likely to develop the disorder. The risk is also greater for those:
- over 40
- with large tonsils, large tongue or small jaw
- with a family history of sleep apnea
- with a nasal obstruction due to a deviated septum, allergies or sinus problems.
Sleep Apnoea symptoms
If you’re not getting a good night’s sleep, you may have sleep apnoea. Most patients with Sleep Apnoea symptoms suffer from:
- A dry mouth or sore throat in the morning
- Excessive drowsiness during the daytime
- Loud, habitual snoring that’s bothersome to other people. However, not every person who snores loudly has Sleep Apnoea.
- Awakening without feeling refreshed.
- Observed episodes of stopped breathing during sleep
- Abrupt awakening accompanied by gasping or choking
- Morning headaches
- Difficulty concentrating during the day
- Experiencing mood changes, such as depression or irritability
- High blood pressure
- Night sweats
- Low libido
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Insomnia (restless sleep) with frequent tossing and turning during the night.
If you share a bed with someone, they may notice you have sleep apnoea before you do.
What are treatments for Sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea can be treated by several options:
- Adjusting sleeping habits. This may mean simply not sleeping on your back
- Continuous positive air pressure (CPAP). This is a device which improves breathing while you sleep. The device supplies air through the nasal passages and the air pressure keeps the airway open while sleeping.
- Oral appliances. Certain oral devices like EMA can shift and support the jaw to prevent the airway from collapsing. Research shows that oral appliances can successfully prevent sleep apnea in some mild to moderate cases.
- Surgery. According to the Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine upper airway surgery may be recommended when other treatment options are unsuccessful in eliminating the symptoms of sleep apnea. Depending on the location and nature of the airway obstruction, the procedure may be minimally invasive or more complex. It may be necessary to remove the tonsils or other parts of the soft palate or throat.
If you think you have sleep apnea, make sure to speak with your physician or dentist for more information and possible evaluation.
How can EMA appliance helpful for sleep apnea
The EMA oral appliance is a customizable removable appliance created for the noninvasive treatment of snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). The EMA does not interfere with breathing through the mouth, even in cases of congested nasal passages. It has many options for advancement with nine strap lengths (13 mm–21 mm) and four different elastic tension options, indicated by color. The flexibility of the 36 elastic bands allow for individualization of patient’s treatment, and the ability for quick and easy adjustments to provide optimum patient results. Due to the varying elastic bands, non-restricted lateral/protrusive movement is possible while wearing the device.
The EMA is indicated for patients with either a full or partial set of natural teeth. The patient’s remaining teeth should have sufficient height of contour for the device to gain retention at the gingival third, and the edentulous ridge must be fully captured in the impression.
Common side effects of initial wear are clenching, sore teeth, TMJ sensitivity and increased salivation, but usually resolve in ten days. If more severe pain occurs, the patient should contact his or her doctor immediately. The patient should be advised to chew sugar free gum every morning after wearing the appliance to help return the condyles to normal position.
What happen if sleep apnea left untreated?
sleep apnea may have serious consequences if it’s not treated. It can lead to cardiovascular problems due to periods of poor oxygenation during sleep and the stress of the body trying to re-start breathing. These issues can result in heart failure, arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms), hypertension (high blood pressure). It can also cause poor sleep when a person with sleep apnea frequently wakes up during the night. It may result in daytime sleepiness, personality changes, memory losses, and intellectual impairment.