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WHAT IS SLEEP APNEA

Sleep apnea is a condition in which your breathing stops periodically during sleep, as many as 20-30 times per hour. Each time you stop breathing in your sleep, the resulting lack of oxygen alerts your brain, which temporarily wakes you up to restart proper breathing. Since the time spent awake is so brief, most people with sleep apnea don't remember it, and many feel like they are getting a good night's sleep when, in fact, they are not. The constant wake-sleep, wake-sleep cycle prevents those with sleep apnea from achieving deep sleep, resulting in a constant drowsy feeling during the day.

What are the signs of sleep apnea?

The following symptoms can indicate the presence of sleep apnea. If you notice one or more of these, contact our practice.

 

  • Insomnia or difficulty sleeping
  • Loud snoring at night
  • Waking up at night short of breath
  • Snorting or choking sounds during the night (indicating a restart of breathing)
  • Headaches upon waking in the morning
  • Falling asleep unintentionally during the day
  • Extreme drowsiness throughout the day

Are there different types of sleep apnea?

There are three categories of sleep apnea. The most common is called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), and occurs due to a physical blockage, usually the collapsing of the soft tissue in the back of the throat. Less common is central sleep apnea (CSA), in which breathing stops because the muscles involved don't receive the proper signal from the brain. And some people suffer from "mixed" or "complex" sleep apnea, which is a combination of obstructive and central.

What are the risk factors for sleep apnea?

Obstructive sleep apnea is more common in males than females, and more common in older adults (40+) than younger adults and children. However, anyone regardless of gender or age can suffer from sleep apnea. Other risk factors include obesity, smoking, drinking, use of sedatives or tranquilizers, and family history. Central sleep apnea strikes most often in people with heart disorders, neuromuscular disorders, strokes, or brain tumors.

Is sleep apnea dangerous?

Sleep apnea is considered a serious medical problem and if left untreated it can lead to high blood pressure, increasing the risk of heart failure and stroke. The ongoing state of fatigue caused by sleep apnea can lead to problems at work or school, as well as danger when driving or operating heavy machinery. Sleep apnea can also cause complications with medication or surgery; sedation by anesthesia can be risky, as can lying flat in bed after an operation. If you know or suspect you suffer from sleep apnea, let your family doctor know before taking prescribed medication or having surgery.

How is sleep apnea treated?

Treatments for sleep apnea depend on the severity of each individual case, and the type of apnea. Basic treatment can be behavioral; for instance, patients are instructed to lose weight, stop smoking, or sleep on their sides instead of on their backs. Beyond that, oral devices can be used to position the mouth in such a way that prevents throat blockage. In more severe cases, surgery may be the best option.

What should I do if I suspect that someone in my family suffers from sleep apnea?

Contact our practice, and we can refer you to a sleep apnea specialist. The specialist may recommend a sleep study to diagnose the precise extent of the problem, and can prescribe appropriate treatment. Depending on your situation, treatment may involve an oral device that we can custom create for you.

ORAL SLEEP APPLIANCE

Oral appliance therapy is an effective treatment option for snoring and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). A custom-fit oral sleep appliance can improve your sleep, restore your alertness and revitalize your health.

About Oral Appliance Therapy

Worn only during sleep, an oral appliance fits like a sports mouth guard or an orthodontic retainer. It supports the jaw in a forward position to help maintain an open upper airway. Research shows that oral appliance therapy is an effective treatment option for snoring and obstructive sleep apnea.

SLEEP STUDY

We team with a Board Certified Sleep Physician to maximize treatment quality for our patients that have sleep apnea. This is the only legal way for a dentist or orthodontist to be able to offer treatment solutions for patients that have been diagnosed with sleep apnea. No one but a Board Certified Sleep Doctor can diagnose a patient with Sleep Apnea. If you are getting treatment for sleep apnea from a dental professional without a diagnosis from a  sleep doctor, you may want to reconsider who is treating you. We work closely with local sleep doctors creating specific and custom treatment plans that will benefit your health for years to come.

 

Do you suspect that you have sleep apnea? Ask us how we can offer treatments options so that YOU get quality sleep without having to be on a CPAP!

"Imagine what it would be like to wake up refreshed in the morning, to lose those dark circles that are under your eyes, to not hear your spouse or child wake us gasping for air in the middle of the night? We can help you. When we treat you or your loved one, we treat with Airway Friendly orthodontics in mind. We align your teeth so they are not only beautiful and straight, we do so in a manner that maximizes your airway and helps you breathe better. In our office, orthodontics is much more than straight front teeth. It is about a better life."

Call us today or complete the form on our contact page with any questions you may have about sleep apnea and how Chmura Orthodontics can improve your quality of life!

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