OSA - What It Is and Why We Screen
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a sleep-related breathing disorder that affects as many as 52 million Americans. Men are more likely than women to get sleep apnea, and the likelihood of OSA increases with age.
The Problem with OSA
People with obstructive sleep apnea experience restricted air flow during sleep. This results in symptoms like loud snoring, gasping for breath, and long pauses between breaths. Many OSA patients suffer from fatigue, difficulty concentrating, or irritability. And since sleep apnea can deprive your body of much-needed oxygen, it may increase the risk for high blood pressure, abnormal heartbeats, and stroke.
Treatment for Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea often goes untreated because patients are not aware that symptoms like snoring are part of a much bigger problem, so they don’t seek treatment. For this reason, the American Dental Association (ADA) is expected to release a policy statement encouraging dentists to screen for this disorder.
At our Metairie, LA dental office, we have already been screening our patients for sleep apnea for some time now. The process involves a consultation to discuss your condition followed by a convenient home sleep study test. The test uses a device that monitors your breathing patterns and heart rate while you sleep, and the results of the test are then sent to a sleep study physician for evaluation.
In severe cases, a CPAP (continuous positive air pressure) mask will be recommended. However, many cases of OSA can be treated with a simple customized dental device that moves your jaw forward while you sleep. This position prevents your tongue from collapsing back against your throat and blocking your airway.
Please Call Us for Your Evaluation
If you wake up feeling fatigued or your partner complains about your loud snoring, please call our office to arrange a consultation.