Sleep Apnea is a condition that is characterized by several, short pauses in a person’s breath while sleeping, causing them to wake up again and again, gasping for breath. This happens as the muscles relax during sleeping, causing an obstruction in the airway. The occurrence of sleep apnea has been attributed to a number of conditions such as obesity, allergies, use of sedatives and alcohol before sleeping, a small retruded jaw, enlarged tonsils, or adenoids. Snoring can be an indication of sleep apnea, but it is not always necessary that someone who snores is suffering from the disorder.
The pauses in breath may occur from anywhere between 20 to 30 times an hour, disrupting your sleep as your brain is alerted about the lack of oxygen. Since the interval for which one wakes up is so short, most people with sleep apnea don't remember it, and many are not aware that they were not able to get a good night’s sleep. The constant wake-sleep, wake-sleep cycle prevents sufferers of sleep apnea from getting into a state of deep sleep, which causes daytime fatigue and drowsiness.
Oral appliance therapy has been found to be effective in the treatment of mild to moderate cases of obstructive sleep apnea. A custom, removable dental appliance that fits like a sports guard can be worn during sleep to support the jaw in a forward position so the airway stays open and you can breathe properly.