Are you or your partner a chronic snorer? Do you often wake up in the middle of the night finding it hard to breathe? These issues are common signs of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).
Sleep Apnea is a commonly undiagnosed medical condition. It can cause negative consequences for both your overall health and oral health. Millions of adults suffer from sleep apnea and linked side effects. Sleep apnea is the result of a patient’s airway becoming partially or completely blocked while asleep.
The patient’s throat muscles fail to keep the airway open allowing the soft tissues or tongue to block the airway. Oxygen is then unable to flow to your vital organs and brain, causing patients to experience interrupted and unrestful sleep.
Patients diagnosed with sleep apnea have a higher chance of having heart attacks, strokes, high blood pressure, and other systemic diseases. For some patients, sleep apnea may cause chronic TMJ pain, cracked or broken teeth, and even tooth loss. Early diagnosis of sleep apnea is essential for conservative treatment.
Signs of Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a condition that doctors characterize by pauses in breathing or shallow breaths while sleeping. It can lead to daytime sleepiness, high blood pressure and other health problems. There are many common signs of sleep apnea:
- Consistent, loud snoring
- Waking up to breathe, gasping for breath or choking
- Headaches that arise in the morning
- Difficulty concentrating
- Having a dry mouth in the morning
- Feeling excessively tired during the day
- Experiencing memory lapses during the day
- Sleeping with an open mouth
If you notice any of these signs of sleep apnea, call Advanced Total Dental Care for treatment today at (301) 637-0960. Our professional team will ensure that you receive the most comfortable solution possible to help treat sleep apnea.
Sleep Apnea Risk Factors
Certain lifestyle, health, or genetic factors may put you at a higher risk for developing sleep apnea. Knowing your risk factors can help you seek an early diagnosis for effective treatment. Getting treatment for sleep apnea can prevent long-term health problems and can help you get a better night’s sleep so you can feel rested and focused.
- Your Weight – Being overweight can put you at a higher risk. Sometimes losing weight completely alleviates sleep apnea symptoms.
- Your Neck Circumference – People with a larger neck circumference are more likely to develop this disorder.
- The Size of Your Airway – Some patients naturally have a more narrow airway. Enlarged tonsils can also narrow the airway, increasing the chance of sleep apnea.
- Your Gender – Men are 50% more likely to develop sleep apnea than women.
- Your Family History – Your family history can predict a lot about your health, especially as you age. Be sure to let Dr. Rever know if you have a family history of sleep apnea.
- Your Health – If you have high blood or diabetes, you may have sleep apnea. Many health and oral health concerns cause a domino effect of other medical concerns. Regular dental exams can help keep your oral health in check.
Sleep apnea may go undiagnosed because it can be difficult to know that you are experiencing it. A common sign of sleep apnea is heavy and loud snoring. If you snore loudly, suffer from depression, have difficulty concentrating, wake up gasping for air, or feel frequently fatigued, contact our dentist in Silver Spring, MD today.
Treating Sleep Apnea: What to Expect
Dr. Rever works with patients on an individual basis to diagnose and treat sleep apnea. Improved overall health and well-being is our number one goal. He looks for the common oral signs of a sleep disorder during routine preventive care visits and takes the time to discuss your concerns and lifestyle habits that can affect your oral and overall health.
Dr. Rever can arrange for an at-home sleep study that a physician will analyze. The results will indicate the severity of your sleep disorder. Dr. Rever will work with you to coordinate the most appropriate and effective treatment option. For mild to moderate cases, oral appliance therapy can serve as an alternative to the Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine. Patients often prefer small oral appliances and devices due to these key benefits:
- More discreet treatment
- Enables wearer to speak and consume fluids while in place
- Easy maintenance
For patients with more severe cases of sleep apnea, the CPAP remains the gold standard of care.
Oral Appliance Therapy
Advanced Total Dental Care offers oral appliance therapy to treat patients with mild to moderate cases of sleep apnea. Dr. Rever has full training and experience in the treatment of sleep apnea. He provides custom-designed oral sleep devices that are far superior to over-the-counter options to help alleviate the symptoms. Oral appliances are a more comfortable alternative to bulky CPAP machines. Because they are discreet and easy to wear, they offer higher compliancy rates.
An oral sleep device is much like a sports mouthguard. Your dentist custom-designs the device to fit your personal specifications for optimal comfort and effectiveness.
The oral appliance works by realigning the jaw, thus opening up the airway to prevent the soft tissue in the back of the throat from collapsing. The appliance also helps to protect your smile from further damage to the teeth, gums, and jaw often associated with sleep apnea.
Many patients report feeling less fatigued after only a few nights of using their oral sleep device. The device is compact, light, and discreet. Sleeping well is a fundamental part of a healthy lifestyle. Your body needs sleep to stay healthy and function properly. Seeking treatment for sleep apnea can give you back restful sleep and improve the quality of your life.