Sleep Apnea Therapies

Sleep Apnea Therapies

Stop Snoring and Start Sleeping

Do you wake up with headaches? Are you tired during the day? Could you fall asleep easily most anywhere? Do you get 7-8 hours of restful sleep each night and wake rested and alert? If not you may have a sleep disorder. Many people have sleep disorders and many of those have a breathing component called Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

Have You Been Diagnosed with Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

Obstructive Sleep Apnea is primarily treated with a CPAP (continuing positive airway pressure) machine. The CPAP can be both uncomfortable, but very effective in treating sleep apnea. It is a mask, worn over the face or nose, attached to a hose of forced air provided by a machine. Some patients think it’s just easier to suffer from the snoring than to try to sleep wearing a CPAP face mask.

Dental Care for Sleep Apnea

An Alternative to CPAP

During sleep, the throat and tongue relaxes, allowing these structures to collapse against one another and obstruct clear airflow.  In certain situations, our dentists can prescribe a special custom made oral appliance to treat Sleep Apnea, which gently and safely holds the jaw forward and prevents the tongue and the soft tissue of the throat from collapsing into the airway therefore prevents snoring.

What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

Obstructive Sleep Apnea occurs when the tongue and soft palate collapse onto the back of the throat while you’re asleep. This blocks the upper airway, causing airflow to stop. When the oxygen level drops low enough, the brain moves out of deep sleep and you partially awaken. The airway then contracts and opens, causing the obstruction in the throat to clear. The flow of air starts again, usually with a loud gasp. When the airflow starts again, you move back into a deep sleep. Then the process repeats. Over and over and over. Often the body suffers severe oxygen depletion time and time again throughout these cycles. Depending on the severity this can be life threatening.  The combination of low oxygen levels and disturbed, interrupted sleep is the major contributors to most of the ill effects that the Sleep Apnea patient suffers.

The Importance of Treatment

Obstructive Sleep Apnea causes daytime sleepiness, but many don’t realize that there are more serious problems associated with this disorder. Sleep Apnea patients are much more likely to suffer from:

  • Heart problems (heart attack, congestive heart failure, hypertension)
  • Strokes
  • Obesity or overweight
  • A higher incidence of work related and driving related accidents
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Generalized inflammation
  • Bruxing (teeth grinding- which by itself can be a sleep disorder)

Think You Might Have Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

Do you snore? If you answered yes, it can be a sign of an Obstructive Sleep Apnea. The real indication of Sleep Apnea isn’t snoring. It is when your snoring stops. When the snoring stops, often so does your breathing. Sleep Apnea can cause a person to stop breathing for periods of time, sometimes hundreds of times during the night and often for a minute or longer. This cessation of breathing can cause a variety of problems.

Remember to check if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Daytime Sleepiness
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Morning Headache
  • Irritability
  • Impaired Memory And Judgment
  • Mood Disturbance

If you suspect you have a sleep or breathing disorder, call Virginia Family Dental today at (218) 741-0405 to schedule a consultation.