Sleep apnea is a condition to take very seriously because it can lead to other major health consequences. At Peak Dental, we provide effective treatment for many cases of sleep apnea to help you improve your health.
Sleep Apnea Treatment
Sleep Apnea is a condition that causes you to experience frequent and recurring shortness of breath while sleeping. It can be caused by the individual’s throat becoming overly relaxed while sleeping which blocks the airways and prevents normal breathing. This is referred to as obstructive sleep apnea. If you are experiencing frequent and recurring shortness of breath while you sleep, you may have sleep apnea. Signs of sleep apnea include poor sleeping habits, frequent sore throats, recurring headaches and a general inability to get a restful night sleep.
At Peak Dental, we offer custom-designed oral appliances for the treatment of sleep apnea. If diagnosed with sleep apnea, you will wear an oral appliance that adjusts to the position of your jaw to ensure the airways are kept open while sleeping. The device is comfortable and should cause no problems for you or any sleeping partner. For severe cases of sleep apnea, we may recommend you see a primary care physician to ensure you have a thorough treatment plan.
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder where breathing repeatedly starts and stops. The lapses in breathing results in lower quality sleep and affects the body’s oxygen supply, which can result in serious health consequences. There are three main types of sleep apnea:
- Obstructive sleep apnea. This is the most common form of sleep apnea and is caused by a person’s throat becoming overly relaxed while sleeping, blocking the airways and preventing normal breathing.
- Central sleep apnea. This occurs when your brain fails to submit signals to your breathing muscles, resulting in not breathing for a short period of time. This is a rare form of sleep apnea.
- Complex sleep apnea syndrome. Also known as treatment-emergent central sleep apnea occurs when someone has both obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea.
This condition is normally associated with loud, intense snoring, but just because a person snores doesn’t mean they have sleep apnea. It can be caused by being overweight, excessive alcohol consumption or drug use can cause the airways to become more relaxed and cause blockages, and it can also be caused by genetics. People with a family history of sleep apnea are more likely to suffer from the condition. According to the Sleep Foundation “Sleep apnea is one of the most common sleep disorders in the United States. It can affect children and adults and people of both sexes, although it is more common in men.”
What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?
The most common symptoms of sleep apnea are listed below. Just because you have one, or a few of these, doesn’t mean you have sleep apnea. Check with your doctor to be certain.
- Very loud snoring
- Sleepiness and loss of energy when awake
- Painful headaches
- Restless sleep
- Insomnia and recurrent awakenings
- Waking up with a dry or sore throat
- Waking up in the night with gasping or choking sensations
- Sudden mood changes
- Poor concentration
- Going to the bathroom frequently at night
How is sleep apnea diagnosed?
Sleep apnea is typically diagnosed using a polysomnogram or a sleep study. During a sleep study, a sleep physician monitors brain activity and body system functioning while a patient rests overnight at a sleep lab. The specialist evaluates the study data collected to diagnose sleep disorders and recommend treatment. If indicated by the sleep doctor, a dentist trained in sleep medicine works with him/her to treat obstructive sleep apnea with oral appliance therapy. In some cases, a home sleep study may also be possible instead of reporting to a sleep lab.
How is sleep apnea treated?
Treatment of snoring and obstructive sleep apnea may involve surgery, CPAP or BiPAP machines, or oral appliance therapy. Oral appliances provide the least invasive option and are often a good choice for the treatment of mild to moderate OSA. A carefully calibrated appliance can comfortably help hold the jaw in a precise position throughout the night, allowing critical oxygen flow.
All treatment recommendations should be made in consultation with your sleep physician. Once a treatment path that you can use consistently is chosen, we may be able to provide critical support for your efforts. If appliance therapy is selected, it’s essential the right method and positioning are designed to precisely maintain your airway.
If you have any questions regarding sleep apnea or treatment options, please contact our office and we will be happy to discuss further.