WHAT IS SLEEP APNEA?
Are you drowsy during the day, even if you allowed plenty of time for sleep the night before? Has your bed partner ever complained that you snore or appear to stop breathing during the night? If this sounds like you, it could mean that you could be suffering from a serious condition called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). The Dental & Denture Care Center works closely with your physician to offer relief for patients with sleep apnea with conservative oral appliance therapy.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
According to the Mayo Clinic, Sleep Apnea is a serious disorder where your air supply gets cut off while you sleep. This occurs when the tissues in your airway collapse and litteraly block your airway. Your own tissues are essentially choking you. In most cases, a person will appear to stop breathing for 10 seconds or longer.
In order to unblock the airway, your brain has to awaken the body. Although, you may not realize it, a sufferer of OSA will wake up hundreds of times through the night and they won’t really enter the deep sleep that is required to rejuvenate the body and mind.
Why Is Sleep Apnea Dangerous?
Sleep apnea can contribute to a number of health problems, including:
- Weight Gain
- Low Metabolism
- Heart Attacks
- Mood Swings
- Muscle Pain
- High Blood Pressure
Many of these conditions are triggered due to a poor cardiovascular system. When your body thinks it is not getting enough oxygen, it causes the heart to work harder to increase blood production. Thre result can be high blood pressure and stress to the heart. Left untreated, OSA can cause a person to be six times more likely to suffer death.
How Do I Know If I Have Sleep Apnea?
The first step in treating OSA is determining whether you indeed have the condition. For an accurate diagnosis of sleep apnea, see a doctor for a thorough assessment. If you have symptoms like day time sleepiness, severe snoring and dry mouth, it is recommended to take a sleep test for a diagnosis. The test can be administered at a sleep center or at home. Please call our office for a referral.
How Do You Treat Sleep Apnea?
Once a person has been diagnosed, sleep apnea can be very treatable. Most doctors recommend a device called the Continuous Positive Air Pressure (CPAP) machine. The machine works by pumping air into your nose and throat. However, it’s bulky, uncomfortable and noisy.
A more comfortable option is a compact, custom-made oral device that helps position the jaw forward, keeping the airway open while the person sleeps. In addition to our general dental services and dentures, The Dental & Denture Care Center can provide oral therapy to treat your OSA condition.
Those with mild to moderate OSA who experience fewer than 30 episodes of interruptions in breathing per hour may be eligible to use a dental device such as a mandibular advancement device or a tongue retaining mouth piece.
Medication, surgery and lifestyle changes are also used in conjunction with a CPAP machine or an oral therapy device. However, surgery is rarely ever used.
The Benefits of Oral Therapy In Treating Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea sufferers tolerate dental devices more comfortably than CPAP devices and experience less dry throat and nose complaints. Dental devices are easier to travel with and require less equipment. The benefits of an OSA diagnosis and treatment are lifesaving and the patient will feel more refreshed during the day from getting a more restful night’s sleep.
If you believe you might have OSA and would like to learn more about the condition and our treatment options, please give us a call at (352) 848-1050 to schedule a consultation or contact us through our website here.
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