Fotolia_38233787_XS-300x199diagnosed with this sleep disorder but have not sought treatment. And, many do not fully understand exactly what sleep apnea is. Sleep apnea is a condition where an individual stops breathing for ten seconds or more during sleep. This typically can happen between ten and sixty times in a single night. The two types of sleep apnea are: Obstructive sleep apnea, which is the most common type of apnea; and Central sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is due to relaxation of the muscles around the throat causing an obstruction of air flow in to the nose and mouth. And, Central sleep apnea is caused by a disruption in the signal from the brain that controls breathing. Besides not being able to get a good nights rest, sleep apnea sufferers may be more prone to higher blood pressure and a decreased flow of oxygen to the brain. This may cause fatigue during the day and if left untreated can lead to impaired daytime function.  If you have a weakened heart already, sleep apnea can aggravate your condition by placing stress on your heart while you sleep.  This can lead to heart attack and possibly stroke. The gold standard for treatment of most sleep apnea patients is use of a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure system or more commonly known as CPAP. This type of machine provides constant pressure to help keep the airway open. Some patients are unable to tolerate the CPAP system and then are prescribed by their sleep physicians to have an oral appliance made to help keep the airway open. This appliance is made at your dental office. Your dentist will then  fit adjust and monitored your treatment with the oral appliance.  ]]>