Being diagnosed with sleep apnea can be a very scary thing to cope with. Although a common medical condition, most people know very little about the causes, symptoms, and complications which can arise as a result of sleep disturbances. Snoring and sleep apnea are potentially serious problems that can lead to compromised health. Being told that you suddenly stop breathing for prolonged periods during sleep can cause anxiety and confusion. If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, or believe that you may have symptoms of sleep apnea, it is important to understand what it is as well as what your options are for managing the condition.
Everybody has heard somebody snoring! It is more than an annoyance, however. Snoring is a symptom of a breathing problem. It is caused when the jaw opens, muscles are relaxed and the tongue falls to the back of the throat. This causes the airway to narrow or close off partially, forcing air through a much smaller opening. The sound vibrations which occur with restricted air passage are known as snoring. Problems associated with snoring are disrupted sleep, relationship problems, and embarrassment. In some cases, snoring is a symptom of its more sinister brother, obstructive sleep apnea.
During sleep, your body becomes more relaxed. When the muscles and tissues in the throat become very relaxed, they can cause the collapse of the airway. In many cases, air passage can be completely cut off for periods of time. This causes a reduction in oxygen supply to the body and brain. When the airway obstruction has continued long enough to cause the brain to react, the sleeper will partially awaken enough to clear the obstruction and fall back to sleep. This continuous cycle of falling asleep, airway collapsing and unconsciously awakening gasping for air prevents effective sleep. It can significantly shorten one's life.
If you suffer from snoring or sleep apnea, you don’t need us to tell you that you can suffer from excessive daytime sleepiness! OSA sufferers awaken feeling unrested and tired. Morning and nighttime headaches are common as well as waking with chest pain or anxiety during sleep. The partners of OSA and snoring sufferers often report being annoyed by very loud snoring, restless sleeping, choking, gasping, and episodes of not breathing at all.
Most people who have been diagnosed with OSA have received a medical device called a Continuous Positive Air Pressure machine, or CPAP. Approximately 750,000 CPAP‘s are prescribed annually, although the machine is often uncomfortable, difficult to comply with and many patients stop using the CPAP machine altogether.
In patient’s diagnosed with mild to moderate OSA and snoring, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends oral sleep apnea appliances, like the TAP® (Thornton Adjustable Positioner). The TAP® appliance has been proven to provide results as a first line treatment for OSA and is preferred by patients 20-1.
The TAP® is a custom-made oral appliance which conforms perfectly to your anatomy. This adjustable appliance is worn while sleeping. The TAP® design is based on the principles of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). The idea is to keep the airway open in order to allow the unobstructed passage of air during sleep.
An effective snoring treatment and OSA device, the TAP holds the lower jaw in a slightly forward position so it does not shift or fall during the night. This is the mechanism for keeping the airway open. The TAP is the only appliance that can be adjusted by the patient while in the mouth. This unique feature allows the patient to move the jaw forward or back, depending on their individual needs. Nine in ten patients wear their TAP all night, every night, which provides for much more effective management of OSA.
Dr. Dunn is specially trained and certified to treat mild to moderate OSA and snoring using the TAP®. He is continually advancing his education and training in order to provide his patients the relief they deserve. Dental sleep apnea devices have been shown to be effective and easier for patients to comply with.
Here is what David has to say about his experience with his TAP® appliance:
“Dear Dr. Dunn,
I never thought for a minute that entering your office for the first time would completely change my life in just a few short weeks. When I first came to your office I noticed your sign “please ask about your snoring issues”. Your solution to my problem of using “The Tap” has allowed not only me but my wife as well to sleep peacefully through the night for the first time in at least four years.
I have been to more than my share of dentists in my lifetime; I have never had the positive and pleasant experience as I have had with you and your staff. The personal concern I received from you for my overall health is over and beyond anything I have ever experienced in the past from a dentist. In addition, I want to also compliment Leann as well as the rest of your staff for their caring attitude and professionalism.
I would not hesitate to recommend you to my family or my friends.”