Sleep apnea is a serious medical condition wherein you periodically stop breathing while sleeping. This condition is more common than often realized, with up to 18 million Americans currently experiencing this issue. In the majority of cases, sleep apnea is caused either by a physical blockage to the airway or by faulty communication between the brain and body, when the former unsuccessfully attempts to send the command to take a breath. There are a multitude of symptoms associated with this condition, including headaches, fatigue, high blood pressure, stroke, and even cardiac death. While there is no cure for sleep apnea, the symptoms can be well managed with treatment. At our practice, our skilled dentists can help you determine if your symptoms could be the result of sleep apnea and provide effective treatment options with our comprehensive dental treatments.
For more information about sleep apnea treatments, or if you wish to schedule a consultation with one of our doctors, please contact us today.
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
Many patients do not realize they have sleep apnea and only discover the condition after seeking relief for associated symptoms, such as snoring. Some of the most obvious signs of sleep apnea are snoring, choking, or gasping for breath during the night. In fact, your significant other or spouse may be the first to realize there could be a problem, or you might attend a sleep study to identify the cause of another sleep disorder and be diagnosed with sleep apnea. If you suspect you may have this condition, the first recommendation we will make will be to attend a sleep study to confirm the diagnosis. In the meantime, other signs of sleep apnea may include:
- Headaches in the morning
- Grinding your teeth while sleeping
- Fatigue, even after plenty of sleep
- Mood swings or feelings of depression
- Increased feelings of stress and anxiety
- Memory loss
Sleep Apnea Risks
The pauses in breathing that occur during the night may last up to a minute or more; as a result, there are numerous risks associated with this condition. There is a common misconception that overweight and obese patients are the only ones who develop sleep apnea; however, this condition can affect you regardless of weight, gender, or age. In some cases, the problem may be due to an overly large tongue, a small lower jaw, or relaxed or enlarged soft tissues located in the back of the mouth, which may obstruct the airway. Lifestyle causes include excess weight, smoking leading to impaired or reduced lung capacity, and drinking alcohol before sleep. Some of the risks of sleep apnea include:
- Heart disease
- Acid reflux
- Sexual dysfunction
- Cardiac arrest
Sleep Apnea Treatment Options
There are several methods of treating sleep apnea, including lifestyle changes, oral appliances, and even surgery for qualified candidates. When you arrive for your initial consultation, Dr. Narang or one of his associates will discuss your symptoms and habits to develop a customized treatment plan that can best address your unique needs. We may recommend one or more of the following approaches:
Custom-designed oral appliance to provide a more positive airflow while sleeping. Our oral appliances are created to provide the best, most comfortable fit possible.
- Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine
- Snore Guard
Our dentists can help you achieve a more restful, healthier night’s sleep. If you have additional questions about sleep apnea treatment and snoring, or if you wish to schedule an appointment with one of our doctors, please contact our office today.