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 associated side effects. Sleep apnea is the result of a patient’s airway becoming partially or completely blocked repeatedly 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 with sleep apnea have a higher chance of experiencing 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.
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
- Your Neck Circumference – Patient’s 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 have been told you snore, suffer from depression, have difficulty concentrating, wake up gasping for air, or feel frequently fatigued, contact our dentist in Silver Spring, MD today.
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 which is analyzed by a physician. The results will indicate the severity of your sleep disorder. Dr. Rever will work with you to coordinate the most appropriate and effective treatment. For mild to moderate cases, oral appliance therapy can serve as an alternative to the CPAP and is often preferred by patients due to several 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
Dr. Rever is highly trained and experienced in the treatment of sleep apnea. Dr. Rever provides custom-designed oral sleep appliances that are far superior to over-the-counter options and can help alleviate the symptoms of your sleep apnea. An oral sleep appliance is much like a sports mouthguard. The appliance is custom designed and fits your personal specifications for optimal comfort and effectiveness.
The retainer works by realigning the jaw so that the airway is able to remain open during sleep. 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.