Sleep apnea is a serious medical condition where one continuously stops breathing during sleep. Sometimes those with acute sleep apnea can have their breathing interrupted over 100 times during the night. There are two kinds of sleep apnea: obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and central sleep apnea (CSA). OSA is the more common and is caused by a blockage of the airway.
If left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to a lack of oxygen to your brain and organs, which can be fatal. At Dental Horizons we offer a simple and effective solution that may help you reclaim a full night’s sleep.
You may want to talk to us about sleep apnea if you have been experiencing the following symptoms:
- Waking up with a sore or dry throat
- Loud snoring
- Waking up with a choking or gasping sensations
- Lack of energy or sleepiness during the day
- Sleepiness while driving
- Morning headaches
- Restless sleep
- Forgetfulness, mood changes
- Insomnia or recurrent awakenings
What Happens if Sleep Apnea Isn’t Treated?
Sleep apnea can be caused by other underlying health conditions or by something that isn’t functioning properly in your mouth. If not treated, sleep apnea can cause other serious health issues. The most severe health complications that can arise from untreated sleep apnea include:
- High blood pressure
- Heart failure, irregular heartbeats, and heart attacks
If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to speak to your doctor immediately. Severe cases of sleep apnea require a diagnosis and treatment plan from a sleep specialist.
How Can Sleep Apnea Be Treated?
There are many ways to treat sleep apnea, depending on severity. Treatment ranges from simple lifestyle changes to surgery.
When you’re diagnosed with sleep apnea, lifestyle changes are the first recommendations. The most common at-home remedies include: losing weight, avoiding alcohol and sleeping pills, changing your sleeping positions, and stopping smoking.
When these measures aren’t effective, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) may be recommended. This treatment involves wearing a mask over your nose or mouth while you sleep. This mask is attached to a machine that continuously supplies air. Other breathing aids such as snore guards can also treat moderate sleep apnea. You can find these devices in our office.
As a last resort, surgery may be required to treat your sleep apnea. Those that are likely to have surgery are those with an overbite, a deviated nasal septum or enlarged tonsils. The most common types of surgeries for sleep apnea include: Nasal Surgery, Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP), and Mandibular Maxillar Advancement Surgery (MMA).
Our dental technicians are knowledgeable about sleep apnea and its symptoms. If we suspect you may have sleep apnea, we’ll mention possible treatment options and suggest immediate attention by a medical professional if it is severe.
At Dental Horizons, we can treat patients with light and moderate sleep apnea. For patients who have the least severe cases of sleep apnea, our dentists are trained in making dietary and lifestyle change suggestions in order to reduce or eliminate their sleep apnea.
For moderate cases of sleep apnea, our dental office carries dental devices that can open up airways so you can keep breathing comfortably throughout the night. These elevate your tongue so it doesn’t block your airways. If dietary and lifestyle changes don’t effectively treat your sleep apnea, then we’ll recommend a breathing aid device for you to use at night.
For patients with severe cases of sleep apnea, we’ll help you find a specialist who can perform the abovementioned surgeries.
Sleep apnea is a serious health condition that should not be ignored. If you or your loved one continually stops breathing at night, come by and speak to one of our dentists for an examination and possible treatment options because it may be a symptom of an underlying oral issue or is caused by something not right inside your mouth.