If you or someone you love suffers from snoring that cannot be attributed to allergies, a sinus infection, or the common cold, that snoring could indicate a more serious condition. During sleep, the muscles in the mouth, jaw, and throat naturally relax. However, for the millions of Americans who have obstructive sleep apnea, these muscles become so relaxed that they collapse and obstruct the airway, making it difficult to breathe. The decreased flow of oxygen caused by sleep apnea usually results in sudden, repeated awakenings throughout the night and an overall poor quality of sleep. Excess weight around the neck can also compress the airway, disrupting normal breathing and sleeping patterns.
Beyond the snoring and all those restless nights, the effects of obstructive sleep apnea can pose a number of serious health risks. Sleep apnea has been linked to an increased risk of stroke, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes, so it is important to recognize and treat symptoms before the condition worsens.
Signs & Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
Because many sleep apnea symptoms are subtle, the disorder can go unnoticed and untreated for years. The common and well-known signs of sleep apnea are:
- Loud Snoring
- Gasping or Choking for Air During Sleep
- Severe Daytime Drowsiness or Fatigue
- Frequent Urination During the Night (The body’s attempt to control elevated blood pressure)
- Morning Headaches (From blood pressure or from jaw clenching)
- Chronic heartburn
Some of the symptoms are more vague and may seem completely unrelated, which is why it is important to see a healthcare professional for diagnosis and treatment recommendations.
TAP® 3 Sleep Apnea Appliance
Dr. LaVecchia can help you get the rest you deserve with the TAP® 3 sleep apnea appliance. It consists of two pieces that are custom made to fit comfortably and securely over your upper and lower teeth like a mouthguard. The pieces snap together to hold the jaws together and keep the lower jaw forward, so your tongue and throat tissues do not collapse down your throat and cause snoring and sleep apnea. You can adjust the degree that your lower jaw is kept forward while the TAP 3 is in your mouth (TAP stands for Thornton Adjustable Positioner), enabling you to achieve maximum comfort and effectiveness. The device has a single point of adjustment that prevents bite dysfunction.
Studies have shown that the TAP 3 can effectively treat mild to moderate sleep apnea and reduce the associated health risks, all without the need for surgery or medication. It has also improved breathing and eliminated snoring in over 95% of patients!