Skowhegan, ME residents ask, “What causes sleep apnea?”
Drs. Imam and Khan in Skowhegan, ME offer dental appliances for patients who suffer from sleep apnea. As a disorder that affects over 22 million Americans, many patients wonder what causes sleep apnea and what treatment options are available.
What is sleep apnea?
An individual who has pauses in breathing while asleep may have sleep apnea. The breaks in breathing last more than 10 seconds and may happen multiple times per hour. The individual does not get enough oxygen while sleeping. Typically, the person snorts or makes a choking sound when breathing resumes. Snoring is a common symptom of sleep apnea but snoring alone does not mean a patient has this disorder. Many patients are tired the next day from not having a restful night of sleep.
Causes of sleep apnea
Sleep apnea can affect patients of all ages, even children. Obstructive sleep apnea is caused by a blockage in the airway at the back of the throat usually from the soft tissue collapsing during sleep. There are many risk factors for sleep apnea.
- Large neck size
- Large tongue or tonsils
- Small jaw
- Gastroesophageal reflux (GERD)
- Nasal obstruction
- Family history of sleep apnea
Alternative treatment options
Many doctors recommend continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy to help the patient breathe while sleeping. This bulky machine uses a mask and air pressure to keep the airway open.
At Maine Center for Dental Medicine we offer Respire oral appliances as an alternative treatment. The Respire sleep devices were designed to address two of the most common problems with sleep apnea, an enlarged tongue, and a narrow arch. Worn while sleeping, the device keeps the upper and lower jaw in appropriate alignment to keep the airway open.
To schedule your appointment with Drs. Imam and Khan, call (207) 808-7355.