Are you tired, stressed out, and moody because of interrupted sleep? Do you wake up exhausted? Does your spouse or partner tell you that you snore or stop breathing during the night? If the answer to either of these questions is yes, then you should seek out a qualified sleep apnea doctor today.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea affects an estimated 18 million Americans, many of whom are unaware of the condition or how dangerous it is. Sleep apnea, a condition in which breathing stops for periods of 10 seconds or longer, can interrupt deep sleep that makes people feel rested.
Non-surgical dental appliances have proven more effective than surgery for many sleep apnea patients.
When a sleeping person stops breathing for 10 or more seconds, they have “apnea.” OSAS, or obstructive sleep apnea syndrome, is one type of sleep apnea. While there are several possible reasons for sleep apnea, the most common is that something is obstructing the airway. Obstructive sleep apnea often occurs when the muscles and soft tissue of the esophagus collapse during sleep. A resulting lack of oxygen signals the brain to wake up just enough to resume normal breathing.
Lack of adequate breath during sleep reduces airflow, causing the brain to tell the body to wake up and breathe.
In some cases, sleep apnea patients only move into a lighter stage of sleep, while other times, patients wake completely.
What’s the Problem?
The effects of sleep apnea can range from acid reflux to depression to heart failure, so early diagnosis and treatment is important. Many factors may contribute to airway blockage, from the size of passages and oral or airway structures, to swelling of passageways, or position of the tongue.
Symptoms of Apnea
Most sleep apnea sufferers only become aware that there is a problem when someone tells them about their irregular breathing pattern or loud snoring. However, there are a few other telltale signs:
A sore or dry throat in the morning
Waking up gasping for breath
Headaches in the morning
Waking up frequently during the night
Memory loss and decreased libido
Disrupted deep sleep can affect mood, health, and cause daytime sleepiness.
The added stress and fatigue can cause lack of concentration and accidents in the workplace, or while driving.
Other health risks include high blood pressure and heart problems, and even a risk of premature death.
The sleep apnea patient’s snores can disturb a sleeping partner’s rest, too.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Non-Surgical Sleep Apnea Therapies
A few tests can determine whether you suffer from OSAS, and non-surgical therapies may alleviate the problem. A nasal mask (CPAP) can deliver air to keep nasal passages open during sleep. Even more effective, patients may now wear dental appliances that reposition the tongue or mandible (lower jawbone).
A Swedish study showed that the anterior mandibular positioning dental device (AMP) is actually more effective than surgical therapies. The same study stated that adverse health effects and appliance repairs were rare.
According to experts, sleep apnea is an under-diagnosed condition, and more men than women suffer. If your sleeping partner says you snore or stop breathing while asleep, or if you experience daytime sleepiness, contact us for a consultation.
Sleep apnea is typically diagnosed by a specialist at a sleeping clinic. During a test called a polysomnogram, your brain signals, oxygen level and muscle activity will be recorded.
If sleep apnea is diagnosed, then your doctor or dentist will discuss treatment options with you. Many patients benefit from continuous positive air pressure (CPAP). This involves a nasal mask connected to a machine that forces air into the person’s nose to keep the airway open. While it is typically effective, it also is uncomfortable and noisy, which is why many people fail to use it as prescribed.
In some cases, however, jaw alignment is the culprit for the obstructed airway. In these cases, a dental appliance can comfortably and effectively treat sleep apnea by holding the jaw in a position that keeps the airway open.
A sleep apnea device may improve your quality of life. It’s just another way your dentist can help you smile.
Your Sleep Apnea Houston Doctors
A dentist who specializes in neuromuscular dentistry is best qualified to fit you for a customized dental appliance for treating sleep apnea, such as SomnoDent MAS. My partner, Dr. Tom Hedge, has a strong background in neuromuscular dentistry, making him qualified to treat a number of conditions, from teeth grinding to sleep apnea.
If you’re looking for a sleep apnea Houston doctor, call our office today at 713-701-1783 to schedule your complimentary consultation.
If you suffer from sleep apnea, a non-surgical dental device could be exactly what you need. Contact The Houston Dentists today in order to schedule a consultation to discuss your condition.