Do you or your sleep mate snore? Do you feel tired, even after a good night’s sleep? Obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA, is a common and treatable condition linked to snoring and daytime drowsiness. Dr. Stephen Gershberg is a sleep medicine dentist. He can determine whether OSA is the cause of your symptoms, and if it is, he can prescribe non-surgical treatment. Want an appointment? Contact our Main Line dental office about sleep apnea today.
What Causes OSA and Snoring
Both snoring and obstructive sleep apnea may be caused by soft tissues that block airflow. When the airway narrows, tissues vibrate as air is forced through them. This creates the sound we call snoring. The louder the snores, the narrower the airway, in most cases. Apnea episodes, meaning periods when breathing stops completely, occur when soft tissues totally block airflow. A sleeping partner may be the first to notice apnea episodes of his or her bedmate. The sleeper stops breathing, sometimes for 20 seconds or longer. During this time, the body recognizes that it is not getting air. Signals tell the brain to wake the body and purposefully take a breath. Patients report gasping, choking, and coughing as they wake and take a deep breath.
Sometimes, a person does not wake fully, but only partially. Because apnea episodes can happen hundreds of times during the night, the deep REM sleep necessary for true rest is never achieved.
Many factors can contribute to the blockage of air in the back of the mouth and throat. Weight is one cause that many people struggle with. For people with larger necks, snoring and sleep apnea are more common. Drinking alcohol or taking any relaxing medication can contribute to snoring and apnea episodes. And while OSA is more common in men, and the risk increases with age, anyone at any age can suffer from OSA. In some cases, natural biology or inflamed sinus membranes are to blame.
Why is OSA a Problem?
Snoring is obnoxious and can keep an entire household from sound sleep, and snoring is a common side effect of sleep apnea. Though you may think that obstructive sleep apnea and associated snoring are primarily a problem for those within earshot of the afflicted, the OSA patient faces mild to serious health risks. These include, but are not limited to:
- Morning headaches
- Heart problems
- Heart attack
- High blood pressure
- ADHD symptoms worsen
- Falling asleep at the wheel
- Health issues related to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Non-Surgical, Effective Sleep Apnea Treatment
Many people do not know that OSA can be treated by a dentist—but often, it can! Doctors from across the Main Line area send sleep apnea patients to our office for non-surgical treatment of sleep apnea. Dr. Gershberg has also been honored as a MainLine Today TopDentist for nine years in a row. As a sleep medicine dentist, he is trained in treating OSA and chronic snoring with an oral appliance.
When you lie back on your pillow to sleep, as facial muscles relax, your lower jaw can slide backward, toward the skull.
Emulate that now: pull your lower jaw inward, and notice how breathing through your mouth becomes difficult. Dr. Gershberg offers an oral appliance to alleviate sleep apnea and snoring. The appliance holds the lower jaw slightly forward to keep the airway open, so breathing continues freely. Though complex in design, the sleep apnea appliance is easy to use. It’s also convenient. Patients who cannot tolerate a CPAP machine, or who travel and do not want to tote a CPAP machine, may benefit from the comfort and compactness of Dr. Gershberg’s sleep apnea appliance.
Imagine – no more foggy days, morning headaches, and related mood swings! Deep, refreshing sleep may be just a dental visit away. To learn more about obstructive sleep apnea symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment, visit Main Line Snoring Solutions.
Schedule Your Visit and Stop Snoring Tomorrow Night!
Please call our office at 610-527-6700 or visit our online contact form to make your appointment right now. In addition to snoring and OSA treatment, Dr. Gershberg also offers general and cosmetic dentistry services to the Philadelphia area and Main Line, including Bryn Mawr, Radnor, Ardmore, Merion, and Newtown Square.