Sleep Apnea: The Silent Crisis in America
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is the most common sleep disorder affecting over 18 million people in the United States. OSA is characterized by loud or heavy snoring interrupted by the stopping of breathing for more than 10 seconds. It is a serious, potentially life-threatening condition that is far more common than generally understood.
How Does Sleep Apnea Occur?
Snoring occurs when the airway or passage through which we breathe becomes partially blocked or occluded. An example would be a tongue that falls back as we drift off into a deeper sleep. As the diameter or size of the airway passage is shrinking, the net result is a muffled sound secondary to vibrations in the throat, or snoring.
These incidences can happen many times per hour and hundreds of times in a night’s sleep. When breathing stops, the snoring stops until individual chokes and gasps for air. They will awaken briefly, sometimes violently, interrupting their sleep patterns and in the morning will have no memories of these incidences.
People with untreated sleep apnea stop breathing repeatedly during their sleep, sometimes hundreds of times during the night. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), occurs when soft tissue in the rear of the throat collapses thus closing the airway causing the sleeper to stop breathing. These frequent interruptions may occur up to 30 times or more an hour and cause breath cessations lasting anywhere from 10 seconds to 3 minutes.
So why is sleep apnea bad?
Every time breathing stops, the oxygen level in the blood falls. With each apnea event, the brain briefly arouses people with sleep apnea in order for them to resume breathing, but consequently, sleep is extremely fragmented and of poor quality. Consequently, REM sleep (the deep, restorative sleep cycle) is interrupted, putting additional strain on the heart and lungs to “catch up”. Not only do these apneas reduce the amount of quality, reparative sleep someone receives, it also reduces the amount of oxygen supplied to the brain which often times is the cause of early morning headaches and overall leads to excessive daytime drowsiness.
What are the risks of sleep apnea?
Untreated, sleep apnea can lead to a lot of health problems which include but not limited to: depression, irritability, sexual dysfunction, learning and memory difficulties, falling asleep while at work, on the phone, or driving, high blood pressure, heart attack, congestive heart failure, cardiac arrhythmia and stroke. It has been estimated that up to 50 percent of sleep apnea sufferers have high blood pressure. The risk of heart attack and stroke may also increase in those with sleep apnea as well as an overall increase in the risk of premature death. In addition, recent studies seem to indicate that sleep apnea may be implicated in sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Symptoms can range from nighttime to daytime symptoms.
- Loud Snoring
- Stopped breathing, gasping, or chocking during the night
- Dry mouth or sore throat upon awakening
- Headaches in the morning
- Daytime drowsiness
- Short attention span
- Waking up throughout the night
- Irritability, mood swings
Certain factors will increase your risk of having sleep apnea.
- Larger Neck Circumference
- Narrow Airway
- Family History
- Alcohol, sedatives, tranquilizers
- Nasal Congestion
Sleep Apnea Diagnosis
Recent advances in sleep apnea treatment have paved the way for more comfortable and effective treatment options. Our practice will typically begin the treatment process with an at-home sleep study to monitor your condition. Dr. Scianni works with a group of sleep physicians who offer at-home sleep studies so that patients do not have to go to a sleep center. Insurance often covers these at-home studies. Once you have been medically diagnosed with sleep apnea after a sleep study has been performed, we can then begin treatment with an oral appliance. With the diagnosis and sleep study, insurance will typically cover the oral appliance as well.
Sleep Apnea Treatment (Oral Appliance Treatment)
At Renaissance Smiles in Colts Neck, NJ, we offer our patients our patients a non-invasive alternative to C-PAP therapy. Oral appliances are safe, non-invasive effective treatments for snoring and mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea. They are solely recommended to patients who have severe sleep apnea who have tried but cannot tolerate C-PAP. The oral appliance is a small plastic device that fits in your mouth during sleep like a sports mouth guard or orthodontic retainer. It is custom fitted and works by moving your lower jaw into the forward position. This results in relaxing the tissues in the back of your throat and preventing your tongue from collapsing and blocking your airway. This will give you a quiet and restful sleep. 91% of patients have experienced an improvement in their sleep quality since they started using an oral appliance. The oral appliance is an appealing solution because it allows for fully non-restrictive movement. This means that you will be able to open your mouth, talk, drink and even yawn while wearing the device. The oral appliance may be used alone or in combination with other treatments for sleep-related breathing disorders, such as weight management, exercising regularly, sleeping on your side, not smoking, and avoiding alcohol.
Advantages of Oral Appliance Therapy
- Oral appliances are comfortable and easy to wear.
- Oral appliances are small and convenient making them easy to carry when traveling.
- Treatment with oral appliances is reversible and non-invasive.
- Oral appliances do not make noise, interfering with partners sleep.
- Oracle Appliances are similar to an orthodontic retainer or mouth guard.
Sleep apnea is a deadly condition. Don’t wait any longer.
Contact Anthony Scianni, D.M.D., in Colts Neck, NJ for non-invasive sleep apnea treatment! Experience a better night of sleep that will leave you feeling rested the next day. You can call us at 732-462-9888 or by visiting our Contact Page to fill out our online contact form.
Lets get you on the road to healthy sleep
Treatment Overview - How it Works
Dr. Scianni will perform a thorough and complete evaluation of your condition and then will collaborate with a board certified physician and multidisciplinary healthcare team.Once a diagnosis of sleep disordered breathing and / or sleep apnea has been made, Dr. Scianni will design a custom biomimetic medical device. You will wear your device, which is similar to an orthodontic retainer, between 12 and 24 months, primarily in the evening and at night when you sleep. Most patients feel the effects of treatment within the first few days or weeks. During treatment, periodic adjustments are made to your appliance. Upon completion of treatment, many patients do not require further intervention.
During your initial consultation with Dr. Scianni and his healthcare team, you will undergo a variety of diagnostic procedures
- Preliminary Health Questionnaire & Screening
- Head + Neck Examination
- CBCT Scan
- Intra-oral Photos + Measurements
- In Home Sleep Test (If Necessary)
It is important to work with Dr. Scianni and his multidisciplnary healthcare team to arrive at an accurate diagnosis.
Once you have completed diagnostic procedures and required tests, Dr. Scianni and his healthcare team will compile your Airway Intelligence Report™
- Complete Assessment and Evaluation
- Airway Measurements
- Treatment Goals
- Treatment Plan
- Health Insurance + Financing
Life During Treatment
Most treatment plans include lots of healthy sleep and good nutrition for a period of between twelve and twenty-four months. You are unique and your custom treatment plan will be tailored to your particular condition.
- Sleep Comfortable & Enjoy a Good Nights Rest
- Enjoy New Found Energy
- Eat Healthy Foods
- Treatment Plan
- Period Visits with Your Healthcare Team
Life After Treatment
Once you have completed treatment, you will be ready to enjoy a vibrant, healthy life. In most cases, there will be no need for further intervention.