Sleep apnea is an extremely common condition that affects millions of Americans of all ages, shapes, and sizes. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a more severe form of sleep disordered breathing in which the tissues of the throat and soft palate relax during sleep, blocking the airway.
Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome (UARS) is a milder form of sleep disordered breathing in which airflow is limited while breathing, also interrupting quality of sleep. Left untreated, these conditions can result in a long list of serious consequences including heart attack and stroke.
Here are some common signs of sleep apnea and upper airway resistance syndrome:
Here at Smile Wellness Co., our team is trained to screen for sleep apnea. We can administer a home sleep test (HST) and facilitate diagnosis with a MD.
If you notice any of these issues in yourself, your bed partner, or your child, give us a call at (425)455-2370.
Treatment for severe apnea:
For patients with severe apnea, Dr. Su will help facilitate a referral to a sleep specialist to determine whether a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine is the best treatment for you. During sleep, these machines pump air through a comfortable face mask at a steady, positive pressure thus preventing the collapse of tissue in your throat and palate.
Treatment for mild or moderate apnea, snoring, and UARS:
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends oral appliances as a primary therapy for the treatment of mild to moderate sleep apnea and for patients with severe apnea who can't tolerate CPAP treatment. A sleep appliance looks quite similar to a retainer or a mouth guard used for sports. Sleep appliances are custom built to move your jaw into a healthier position throughout the night. This, in turn, helps prevent the palate and throat from blocking your airway when they relax.
Orthodontics and Oral Surgery, a more permanent solution:
In some patients with OSA, the underlying cause is anatomical. A combination or orthodontics and jaw surgery may help resolve OSA for a lifetime without relying on a dental sleep appliance or CPAP machine. Dr. Su will screen for these skeletal issues (identifying early issues even in young children) and can refer you to specialists to provide a solution for better breathing and health.