Getting a good night's sleep helps you look, feel, and function your best. However, sleep apnea, a common and potentially serious sleep disorder can impact your health and wellbeing. Dr. Rick Dentistry is proud to offer trusted sleep apnea solutions to help you enjoy restful, rejuvenating sleep, and improve your quality of life.
Understanding Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a chronic sleep disorder in which a patient stops breathing repeatedly during sleep. Obstructive sleep apnea, the most common type of sleep apnea, occurs when the muscles at the back of the throat relax, resulting in the soft tissue collapsing and blocking the airway, which prevents oxygen from reaching the lungs.
What Are the Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?
Chronic loud snoring is the most common symptom of sleep apnea. Patients often wake up choking or gasping for breath, and in some cases, may be unaware they are suffering. Sleep apnea may result in difficulty staying asleep (insomnia), morning headaches, feeling tired and lethargic during the day, excessive daytime sleepiness, difficulty focusing, memory loss, and irritability. Symptoms of sleep apnea also include waking up with a dry mouth, experiencing frequent mood swings, and unexplained weight gain. Patients with sleep apnea often grind or clench their teeth in their sleep, a condition known as bruxism.
What Are the Risk Factors of Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea can affect anyone at any age. Risk factors include obesity, a family history of sleep apnea or snoring, previous damage to the nose or throat, or heavy snoring. Alcohol consumption before sleep, being a male, having a small jaw, a large neck circumference, large tonsils, low levels of thyroid hormone, and high levels of growth hormone can also raise your risk of developing sleep apnea.
How Can Sleep Apnea Affect Your Health?
Sleep apnea can impact your health and quality of life. It poses a threat to your safety as it can increase your risk of driving or workplace accidents. It can be especially problematic if you have medical conditions, including high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and a previous stroke. Sleep apnea can be the cause or a contributing factor to chronic acid reflux, metabolic syndrome, obesity, surgery complications, and more.
Diagnosing and Treating Sleep Apnea
Diagnosing sleep apnea involves an evaluation called a polysomnogram, which takes place at home or at sleep disorder center. This multi-component test involves hooking you up to equipment that monitors your lung, heart, and brain activity, breathing patterns, physical movements, and blood oxygen levels during sleep. The data collected diagnoses the condition and determines its severity.
Sleep doctors usually prescribe Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) masks to wear at night to prevent breathing stoppages. CPAP therapy involves a machine that blows a steady stream of pressurized air through a mask. Some patients find the hoses and noisy machine cumbersome and don't sleep any better with a CPAP mask.
Dr. Rick Dentistry offers more comfortable and effective solutions. Depending on your condition, a mandibular advancement device or a soft tissue repositioning oral appliance can help improve your sleep. Mandibular advancement devices are similar to mouthguards. They keep the jaw in a forward position, which helps maintain an open airway. Soft tissue repositioning oral appliances, on the other hand, are splint-like devices that keep the tongue in place to maintain an open airway. If all else fails, surgical intervention may provide the needed relief.
Sleep Apnea Solutions Near Me
Visit Dr. Rick's dental practice in Scottsdale, AZ to learn more about sleep apnea and how to improve your quality of life. We are here to help you restore your restful, rejuvenating sleep. Call us and schedule your appointment today!