Are you fatigued? Do you find yourself unintentionally falling asleep during the day? Does your spouse complain of your loud snoring? Do you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night choking or gasping for breath? If you answered yes to any one of these questions, you may be suffering from sleep apnea.

It is estimated that nearly 1 in every 15 Americans are affected by this disorder. In fact, today in the United States it is considered to be one of the largest under diagnosed disorders. When it is gone untreated, the cost of treating other health issues due to Sleep Apnea can increase one’s medical bills by over $1200 a year. This could be an additional $3.4 billion per year nationwide.

Sleep Apnea is a condition where the tissues in the back of the throat collapse and block the airways, reducing the amount of oxygen delivered to all organs, including the heart and brain. Typically, people who suffer from it momentarily wake up hundreds of times throughout the night, normally without even knowing it.

Currently, the number one treatment option for people with Sleep Apnea is a bedside machine called the CPAP. Its purpose is to aid the person by generating pressurized air through a tube connected to a mask covering the nose and sometimes the mouth. This machine is typically intolerable to patients, and often goes unworn, left to connect dust under the bed. When left untreated or ignored, however, the symptoms of Sleep Apnea quickly return. The CPAP machine, therefore, is not the right solution for this problem.

Trained dentists have the proper tools for a better solution to this problem- the oral appliance. Oral appliances look like a sports mouth guard but are actually designed to maintain an open unobstructed upper airway during sleep. By repositioning the lower jaw, tongue, soft palate, and uvular (the tissue in the back of the throat that looks like a punching bag), the oral appliance stabilizes the lower jaw bone and tongue which increases the muscle tone of the tongue allowing you to breath well throughout the night.

Because you are breathing better, your body is getting the necessary oxygen to all of its major organs, thus allowing you to sleep more soundly throughout the night. With a better sleep, you will find yourself healthier and more energized. Additionally, your partner will also find him or herself happier because they too will be getting a better night sleep.

Dr. Jon Frankel is a dentist in Northwest Ohio. He specializes in both general and cosmetic dentistry. Additionally, he is trained in aiding with Sleep Apnea and enjoys helping his patients get a better night sleep and experience better health overall. Visit his website at or like him on Facebook at Jon Frankel Dentistry.

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