Relief from Snoring and Sleep Apnea in Leesburg, VA
Does snoring keep you up at night? Whether you or your bedmate snore, it’s important to know that Dr. Deidra Bird Kokel offers non-invasive treatment for snoring, and that oftentimes, snoring is a symptom of sleep apnea. The most common form of sleep apnea is obstructive, or OSA. The same oral splint that Dr. Kokel recommends for snoring cessation can treat OSA, as well. If you’re ready to sleep soundly, in silence, call our Leesburg dental office today at 703-997-1313 and schedule your sleep dentistry consultation.
What Causes Snoring
The back of the human mouth has many loose, soft tissues that aid in the first phase of digestion: chewing and swallowing food. When we sleep, our facial muscles, including those in the mouth and throat, relax and settle with gravity. The soft tissues near the throat, and the tongue, can block airflow, fully or partially. When air is inhaled and exhaled, it moves across the loose tissues, causing them to vibrate. The sound of this vibration is snoring.
What Causes Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is often accompanied by loud, deep snoring. However, apnea literally means a stop in breathing. Sleep apnea, then, is when we stop breathing while asleep. These apneic episodes can happen a few times or hundreds of times while you sleep. When your brain notices that your blood-oxygen level is low because you aren’t breathing, it sends out signals to wake you up so that you’ll take in oxygen – breathe. Some people wake only slightly, but the repeated interruptions inhibit deep REM sleep, which is important to the body’s refueling system. Others wake up with a snort or choking sensation, which can be quite surprising and uncomfortable.
Symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea include: snoring; waking suddenly while choking, coughing, or gasping; a morning headache; daytime fatigue, forgetfulness, irritability; impotence; inability to focus; and low energy. Some people also fall asleep during low-activity periods, such as when driving, looking at a computer screen, or just sitting still for a few moments.
Side effects of sleep apnea include: increased potential for heart attack, stroke, premature death, and automobile accidents. Also, the symptoms above may be considered side effects. We also know that the sleeping partner of a snorer can suffer from sleep deprivation. When both partners do not get enough sleep, the relationship can become strained.
People who are over 50 years of age, male, overweight, smokers, heavy drinkers, or who have a large neck circumference are at heightened risk for OSA.
About a Sleep Dentistry Appliance
The continuous positive airway pressure machine, called CPAP for short, has been the standard treatment for sleep apnea for decades. Many improvements have been made to CPAP through the years. It’s now more compact, less noisy, and has better-fitting masks than it did when first introduced to the market. However, CPAP does not work for everyone. Some people find that the mask is uncomfortable, or that lying on their back all night is next to impossible. Others never find the right pressure, and they wake with a very dry mouth and nose or begin choking on moisture in the mask and tube.
Dr. Kokel provides sleep dentistry with an oral appliance, or splint. This innovative therapy relies on a small mouth piece to hold the lower jaw forward, ever so slightly. When the jaw is not allowed to respond to gravity, soft tissues in the throat cannot block the airway. Both snoring and sleep apnea are relieved! Unlike CPAP, a sleep dentistry splint is small, discreet, and requires no electricity. It’s easy to wear, clean, and take along when traveling. Dr. Kokel can customize the splint to fit your mouth comfortably, while maximizing its effectiveness.
At your consultation, Dr. Kokel will talk with you about your symptoms, then evaluate your mouth, head, and neck. If she suspects sleep apnea, she’ll refer you to a sleep lab for an overnight test. When positive results come back, she can fit you with a sleep dentistry appliance. Medical insurance may pay for all or part of your treatment and testing.
Schedule a Consultation Today, and Sleep Easy Tomorrow!
Ready to enjoy relaxing, refreshing sleep and bright, wide-awake days? Call Deidra Bird Kokel in Leesburg, VA today at 703-997-1313 to reserve your sleep dentistry consultation.