Affected by sleep apnea? Consult with our Grande Prairie dentists to learn more about possible solutions to help treat your sleep apnea.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that causes you to periodically stop breathing during your sleep.
During an episode, airflow stops and the oxygen level in your blood may drop. Your brain then sends your body a signal to resume breathing—often jolting you awake.
This disruption can last between 10 to 20 seconds and often occur numerous times a night. As a result, your natural sleep rhythm can be thrown off, and you may spend more time in light sleep and less time in deep restorative sleep.
If you suffer from chronic sleep apnea you may not remember these occurrences, yet you may wake feeling unwell or restless. If left untreated, the lack of deep sleep may lead to other health issues.
Mild Effects of Sleep Apnea
- Extreme drowsiness during the day
- Episodes of obstructed breathing during sleeping
- Loud snoring & restless sleep
- Clenched jaw
- Morning headaches
- Irritability or difficulty concentrating
- Excessive perspiration during sleep
- Chest retraction (chest pulls in) during sleep in young children
- Nocturnal snorting, gasping, and choking
- Confusion upon awakening
More Serious Effects of Sleep Apnea
- Heart disease
- Type II Diabetes
- Excessive carbon dioxide levels (hypercapnia)
- Irregular heart beat (arrhythymia)
- Rapid weight gain/obesity
- Reduced libido
- Erectile dysfunction
At Access Dental, We Offer Services to Help Treat Your Sleep Apnea
Sleep Group Solutions
We use a set of diagnostic tools, the rhinometre and pharyngometer, to help assess your airway.
With a technique called acoustic reflection, these instruments map sound waves in your nasal passages and pharyngeal airway then translate the data into a graph to show the relation between your nasal passage and pharyngeal airway.
Using these tools, we can identify the area of obstruction and show changes in the airway after the use of an oral appliance.
This is a popular choice of OAT. Made from acrylic, this appliance is designed to reposition your jaw with its two-piece upper and lower construction, and allows you to open and close your mouth easily.
The interlocking buccal inclines hold your mandibular forward in its desired position and also allows for some lateral movement.
When sleeping on your back, the inclines prevent the jaw from falling back, thus keeping the tongue forward and airway open.
For the snorers out there…if you snore with your mouth open, you can add class II elastics for additional comfort.
The Pharyngometer Test
While you plug both your nostrils, we place the pharyngometer into your mouth to display the relationship between the cross-sectional area of the airway and the distance down the airway.
This test is minimally invasive and takes two to five minutes to complete.
An alternative to Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) or surgery is Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT).
This type of therapy consists of specially designed appliances that will keep the airway open during sleep.
Forms of OAT will not cure sleep apnea, but they can help as long as the device is being used. When you discontinue use, the symptoms of sleep apnea will return.
The Rhinometer Test
We place the rhinometer in one nostril while you block the other.
Sound waves are sent up the nasal passage to identify any blockages in the airway.
We then repeat in the other nostril. It is non-invasive and will take less than one minute to complete.