Dental sleep apnea is a sleep disorder where the patient experiences troubled breathing while asleep. It can either be in the form of short pauses in the breathing pattern or the complete inability to breathe. Although sleep apnea goes unnoticed in most cases, obstructive sleep apnea can be quite apparent, as it causes the patient to wake up in the middle of sleep, often feeling traumatized and startled. Getting sleep apnea treated in the initial stages is crucial to keep it from taking a toll on your overall health.
What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?
- Loud snoring
- Sore throat
- Early morning headaches
- Reduced tolerance levels
- Reduced sex drive
- Fatigue and lethargy
- Frequent pauses while breathing during sleep
- Inability to breathe, leading to abrupt waking up gasping for air
- Feeling sleepy during the daytime
- Bruxism or teeth grinding
- Increase in weight
What are the types of sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea can be briefly divided into Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) and Central Sleep Apnea (CSA). OSA is caused due to the collapse of the tissues from the roof of the throat onto the airway, thus partially or entirely blocking it. In the case of CSA, the brain doesn’t signal the lungs to inhale on time, thus denying the body its required supply of air. In rare instances, both these conditions can be seen together.
How is sleep apnea treated?
Sleep apnea would be diagnosed by our dentist through a sleep test. We will thoroughly analyze your body movement, eye movement, and your breathing pattern while you’re asleep, and the data will be used as a reference for forming a suitable treatment solution. Patients can make a few changes to their lifestyle to experience relief from sleep apnea. Some of them are:
- Avoiding the consumption of alcohol
- Quitting smoking and chewing tobacco
- Reducing the consumption of high-cholesterol foods
- Losing weight
- Adhering to simpler sleeping postures
- Practicing meditation and yoga
- Exercising regularly
As a professional treatment, the dentist may suggest the use of a Mandibular Advancement Device (MAD). It will be placed accurately by the dentist, and since it is a customized appliance, it would offer excellent fit and comfort. The appliance brings the lower jaw forward to expand the opening to the airway and keeps the roof of the throat from collapsing when you’re asleep.
As an advanced means of preventing sleep apnea, the dentist may also suggest CPAP. It is a setup that consists of a comfortably fitting mask that can be placed on the mouth and nose, which would be connected to a pressurized source of oxygen. Patients would be able to breathe through it, and the continuous supply of oxygen through the device maintains a positive airway pressure. This keeps the airway open at all times and enables you to sleep without being interrupted.
You may schedule a consultation with our team of dental experts by calling us at (925) 566-8738 or reaching us through an online query. We’re always happy to help.