Is Treating OSA Important?
Treating obstructive sleep apnea is incredibly important to your health. When left untreated, sleep apnea often causes excessive daytime sleepiness or fatigue, as well as morning headaches and memory loss. Sleep apnea also is a threat to your safety as it increases your risk of drowsy driving and workplace accidents. Untreated sleep apnea raises your risk for serious health problems. These include:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Chronic acid reflux
- Severe, untreated sleep apnea even increases your risk of death.
How is OSA Diagnosed?
A doctor must determine if you have obstructive sleep apnea. A doctor who is a sleep specialist can provide you with a complete sleep evaluation. This may involve either an overnight sleep study at a sleep center or a home sleep apnea test. The sleep doctor will interpret the data from your sleep study to make a diagnosis.
How are OSA and Other Sleep/Airway Disorders Treated?
In order to treat your sleep and/or airway disorder, we must first understand the root of the cause. If nasal obstruction plays a role, we must find ways to improve your nasal breathing. If your jaws are impeding your airway or encroaching on your tongue space, we need to find ways to get your tongue out of the back of your throat.
Orthodontically, our solutions to resolve an airway problem include improving nasal breathing and getting the tongue out of the back of the throat. We incorporate both dental and skeletal expansion in our treatment plans. We work closely with Sleep Medicine Physicians, ENTs and Oral Surgeons. When appropriate, we set up patients for orthognathic surgery to provide a more permanent solution to their airway and sleep problem.
CPAP machines and oral appliances are useful and help some people as they help get the tongue out of the way. In our practice, we look for ways to help our patients breathe better without needing an oral appliance or a CPAP machine.