We're concerned about the overall health of our patients, including their sleep health. Many people suffer needlessly from dangerous sleep disruptive disorders that keep them from getting enough oxygen at night. The risk of a heart attack is 23 times more likely than average with a sleep disorder, and 92% of stroke victims live unknowingly with this condition before having a stroke. Our training allows us to offer you education and treatment surrounding sleep health in the simplest and most cost-effective way possible.
Estimates suggest that more than twelve million Americans have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Most cases are still undiagnosed, contributing to diabetes, high blood pressure, hypertension, congestive heart failure, coronary artery disease, and traffic accidents related to drowsy driving. Dentistry serves a vital role in treating this silent epidemic. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends oral appliances as primary therapy for treating mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea and for patients with severe sleep apnea who can't tolerate CPAP treatment.
OSA is a breathing disorder characterized by brief interruptions of breathing during sleep due to a blockage in the airway. Obstructions occur when throat muscles, the tongue, tonsils, or the soft palate relax and cover the airway, preventing breathing—the obstruction results in a severe drop in blood oxygen levels throughout the night.
OSA is typically diagnosed using a polysomnogram or a sleep study. During a sleep study, a sleep physician monitors brain activity and body system functions while a patient rests overnight at a sleep lab. The specialist evaluates the data collected to diagnose sleep disorders and recommend treatment. If prescribed by the sleep doctor, a dentist trained in sleep medicine works with them to treat obstructive sleep apnea with oral appliance therapy. Sometimes, a home sleep study may be possible instead of reporting to a sleep lab.
Treatment of snoring and obstructive sleep apnea may involve surgery, CPAP or BiPAP machines, or oral appliance therapy. Oral appliances are the least invasive option and often a good choice for treating mild to moderate OSA. A carefully calibrated appliance like a CPAP or BiPAP can comfortably help hold the jaw in a precise position throughout the night.
All treatment recommendations should be made in conjunction with your sleep physician. If appliance therapy is selected, the proper method and positioning are essential to precisely maintain an open airway.
Once you begin to receive treatment as early as possible, sleep apnea will start to go away. Treatment to help sleep apnea may include lifestyle changes such as weight loss and sleeping on one's side.
Depending on the severity of your sleep apnea, treatment may include lifestyle changes or surgery.
Weight loss can be very helpful to those with sleep apnea because losing weight decreases the amount of pressure on the airway.
Sleeping on your side instead of your back may also help, as well as putting a pillow under your head. Consulting a doctor or dentist may also help you determine what type of treatment is right for you.
Untreated sleep apnea can be very dangerous.
The most common problems caused by sleep apnea are high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes. People who have severe cases of untreated sleep apnea may experience dangerous conditions such as irregular heartbeat or cardiac arrest.
The three types of sleep apnea are central sleep apnea, obstructive sleep apnea, and complex or mixed sleep apnea.
Central sleep apnea is caused by a lack of effort to breathe.
Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when there is complete blockage of the airway.
Complex or mixed sleep apnea, which includes aspects of both central and obstructive sleep apnea.
The frequent pauses in breathing disrupt sleep, causing loud snoring, irregular breathing during sleep, gasping, and choking during sleep.
Other symptoms may include morning headache or dry mouth upon waking.
People who suffer from sleep apnea usually have these signs:
Excessive daytime sleepiness, chronic fatigue or lack of energy, irritability, and depression, difficulty concentrating, remembering details, impaired memory, and learning ability, night sweats, loud snoring (sometimes with periods of no breathing) during sleep or episodes in which breathing is interrupted.
More serious symptoms can occur as a result of a lack of oxygen to the body during the night.
When sleep apnea is left untreated, it can lead to serious consequences such as:
Depression and anxiety increased blood pressure and stroke.
People who suffer from untreated sleep apnea are at an increased risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and mood disorders.
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep. These episodes, called apneas (literally, "without breath"), each last long enough so one or more breaths are missed and happen repeatedly throughout sleep.
A blockage of the airway, usually when the soft tissue in the rear of the throat collapses and closes during sleep.
People who are overweight (particularly those that carry their weight around their necks) and people with large tongues or small jawbones are more likely to have this disorder.
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