At McCulloch-Wilson Dental, we know that nights spent tossing and turning without enough shut-eye can darken even the sunniest dispositions. Restful sleep is essential for a healthy body and happy smile, and it doesn’t take long to start feeling the consequences of poor sleep. If the reason for your low quality of sleep is chronic snoring (whether it’s you or your partner), obstructive sleep apnea may be to blame. Snoring on its own may seem like a harmless habit, albeit an annoying one, but OSA comes with many risks and should not be ignored.
You may already know what sleep apnea is, know someone who has sleep apnea, or suspect it’s the reason you don’t sleep well. It’s a fairly common sleep disorder characterized by cessations of breath while sleeping. The severity of the condition varies person to person, but it’s not unheard of for someone to stop breathing for intervals of at least 10 seconds up to 100 times per hour.
Not only does this cause choking and gasping that can wake you up and keep you from falling back asleep peacefully, but the lack of oxygen to your body prevents it from healing and regenerating the way it would if your sleep were uninterrupted. The effects of this can be evidenced in the host of potentially lethal conditions that may develop if sleep apnea is left untreated.
If you do find yourself with a diagnosis of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (there are 3 different types—central, obstructive, and a combination of the two), Dr. Wilson and Dr. McCulloch has a solution that can get you back to sleeping soundly.
The standard method of treatment for sleep apnea has been the use of a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine. However, it’s one that many wearers haven’t been able to stick with because it’s not very comfortable or convenient to wear the mask to sleep and block out the noise of the machine… and forget trying to travel with it.
With Oral Appliance Therapy, a custom-fit, comfortable, and extremely convenient mouthpiece can be worn at night to prevent the collapse of your airway—the cause of your loss of breath if you have OSA.
At the very least, you deserve to sleep well at night (and so do your loved ones). Trying to cope by treating the symptoms instead of the disorder is no way to live. If you have even the slightest suspicion that you have sleep apnea, consulting with Dr. Wilson and Dr. McCulloch or your primary care provider could make the difference between a long, healthy life and a premature death.
We don’t mean to sound alarmist, but The Wisconsin Sleep Cohort (WSC) conducted an 18-year follow up study and found that people with untreated sleep apnea were three times more likely to die prematurely, that is, of conditions that may have been preventable with earlier intervention.