Some people that snore while sleeping may occasionally wake up gasping for air, or appear as if they are choking. This is a common symptom of a disease known as Obstructive Sleep Apnea, which affects millions across the world. Due to a lack of oxygen during OSA episodes, your entire body can suffer, and you may experience side effects throughout the day. Not only can snoring interrupt your rest, but OSA is also linked to many health concerns, some of which are even life threatening.
Regular Snoring vs. Sleep Apnea
The main thing that differentiates normal snoring from sleep apnea, is the position in which the tissues of your throat rest during sleep. For a typical snorer, sleep causes your tongue and other soft tissues to relax and partially block your air way. As air passes through each time you breathe, it causes these tissues to vibrate and create the well-known sound we call snoring. For someone that suffers from sleep apnea, the relaxation of your soft tissues completely blocks your airway and causes a pause in your breathing. When your brain senses that you are not receiving enough oxygen, it sends a signal for you to wake up and gasp for air. These breathing disturbances can last seconds to several minutes, and may occur over 30 times in one hour.
One of the most well-known treatments for sleep apnea is a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) device, which fits over your nose and head while you sleep, and provides a constant flow of air pressure to keep your airway open. Another excellent method of treatment is a specially designed oral appliance, which can only be prescribed by your dentist. This appliance is custom fit to your mouth, and assists in repositioning your lower jaw during sleep to allow for improved air flow.
ABOUT YOUR KATY DENTIST:
Dr. Colin Lathrop and the Lathrop Dental Center proudly serve patients and families from in and around Katy, Fulshear, Weston Lakes, Simonton, Richmond, Rosenberg, Brookshire, Wallis, Orchard, and all surrounding communities. If you’d like to schedule a dental appointment, you can reach our office in Katy, TX, by calling (832) 437-3849.