What is sleep apnea?

The term “sleep apnea” refers to sleep disorders that interrupt your breathing at night, causing poor blood oxygenation and a variety of other issues. Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is the most common type of apnea.

OSA occurs when tissues in the mouth and airway sag, obstructing the airway and preventing proper breathing. This may occur dozens or hundreds of times each night, and can lead to a lot of health problems. Common symptoms include heavy snoring with periodic interruptions, choking sounds while sleeping, waking up abruptly, a sore throat upon waking, and daytime drowsiness.

At Aglow Dental Studio, Dr. Rosemary Ahanor is here to help you get the treatment you need to protect your health, resolve sleep apnea, and rest peacefully once again. Contact us now to schedule an appointment in Reston.

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Did you know…

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Sleep apnea is the most common sleep disorder in America. It’s estimated that up to 26% of adults between the ages of 30-70 have sleep apnea.

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Can Sleep Apnea Be Treated? Common Treatment Options

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Weight loss and lifestyle changes

Apnea is heavily associated with obesity and overweightness, as well as lifestyle factors like drinking heavily, smoking, or taking sedative medications. Doctors may recommend lifestyle changes to reduce or even eliminate apnea.

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CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure)

CPAP machines use a face or nose mask, and pump a gently-pressurized stream of air into the lungs. This pressure stops tissue from sagging, preventing apnea from occurring.

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Mouth guards

Also known as Oral Appliance Therapy or OAT, mouth guards for sleep apnea reposition the jaws and mouth when sleeping, and prevent tissue from sagging into the airway.

Have questions about sleep apnea? Get the answers.

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How Long Does Sleep Apnea Treatment Take?

This depends on how long it takes to diagnose your apnea and come up with the proper solution. If a CPAP is recommended, you may be able to treat your condition right away by purchasing one.

If you need a night guard for sleep apnea, it will take a few weeks to build it. Dr. Ahanor will need to take molds of your teeth to create a custom-fitted oral appliance, which will be built by a dental lab and sent back to Aglow Dental Studio. 

If your treatment involves lifestyle changes, these also may take time to show results. Changes like drinking less, quitting smoking, and losing weight are usually recommended alongside immediate treatments like CPAP machines and night guards for sleep apnea.

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How Does A Night Guard Work?

Night guards for sleep apnea are different from those used to treat teeth grinding. They are larger, cover the upper and lower teeth, and have a hinged design. They are designed not just to protect your teeth, but to change the position of your jaw during sleep.

The lower jaw is pushed forward slightly by the night guard. This helps keep the airway open, and prevents tissue from sagging into the airway and blocking respiration during sleep.

While night guards are not always appropriate for the most severe cases of apnea, they’re an ideal option for most people. Unlike CPAPs, they require no power, need little maintenance, never break, are easy to pack and travel with, and don’t require you to adjust your sleeping position.

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