According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, over 25 million individuals in the United States have sleep apnea. The figures are mind-boggling and the health implications are grave. Fortunately, people diagnosed with sleep apnea today have more treatment choices than ever before. The health concerns linked with OSA can be reduced with appropriate therapy.…
Are There Warning Signs of Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that can lead to breathing stopping completely while sleeping. This forces the brain to wake up momentarily to restart breathing. Patients with moderate and severe sleep apnea can experience hundreds of these interruptions in one night.
The three classes of sleep apnea are: central, obstructive, and mixed. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common type of the disorder and it occurs when the upper airway is partially or completely blocked during sleep. This forces the chest muscles and diaphragm to work harder as increased pressure is needed to open the airway. The person’s breathing is often restored with a sudden jerk of the body or a loud gasp. It leads to poor sleep, heart rhythm issues, and reduced oxygen flow to organs.
Central sleep apnea is caused by the brain failing to send the proper signals to the respiratory system during sleep. It cannot be treated with an oral appliance. Mixed sleep apnea involves having a combination of both disorders.
Understanding sleep apnea
OSA can affect anyone regardless of their age. Even babies are not exempt from this sleep disorder. It is most likely to occur in people over the age of 40 who are overweight. It can be caused by having certain physical features like enlarged tonsils, a large neck, or a small jaw.
Signs and symptoms a person has OSA include:
- Feeling tired early in the day
- Dry mouth or sore throat in the morning
- Feeling restless during sleep
- Sweating during sleep
- Irritability, forgetfulness, or difficulty concentrating
- Low libido
When left untreated, sleep apnea leads to a variety of chronic mental and physical issues like depression, hypertension, diabetes, and strokes. It also makes a person more susceptible to work-related accidents. It can significantly impact a person’s job performance and the academic achievements of children and teenagers.
How a dentist can help with sleep apnea
Dentists provide patients with sleep disorders with oral appliances that help to keep their airway open during sleep. Some of these devices work by keeping the tongue in the proper position so it does not block the wearer’s airway while they sleep. The other common type of appliance used for OSA moves the wearer’s jaw forward and up, preventing it from obstructing the wearer’s airway during sleep.
Customized oral appliances work best for sleep apnea since these are designed specifically for the patient’s mouth. The dentist takes an impression of the person’s teeth by asking them to bite down on a mold. The mold is sent to a lab where oral appliances and restorations are made. It should get back to the dentist within the next two weeks.
The patient is called in for a follow-up appointment when their oral appliance is ready. The dentist will instruct the patient on how to insert, remove, and maintain the device.
Get treatment for sleep apnea
Not getting enough sleep at night? Call our Newtown clinic for a consultation. Our dentist can get you an oral appliance that makes it easier for you to breathe during sleep.
Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: Sleep Apnea in Newtown, CT.
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