Sleep Apnea Treatments for a Restful Night’s Sleep
Sleep apnea is one of the most common sleep disorders in the US. It affects millions of children and adults. The disorder causes patients to stop breathing for ten or more seconds at a time during sleep. For patients with severe sleep apnea, this may occur hundreds of times each night. Most patients visit a general physician or sleep doctor for sleep apnea diagnosis and treatment planning, but most don’t know that the dentist can help sleep apnea sufferers as well. If you or a loved one suffers from sleep apnea, please contact the Westgate Dental Care team to schedule a consultation visit with our team.
Types of Sleep Apnea
There are two main types of sleep apnea: central and obstructive. Central sleep apnea occurs when the brain fails to send the appropriate signals for the body to breathe in and out. Obstructive sleep apnea is a result of physical airway blockage. Central apnea is less common and requires advanced treatments. Obstructive apnea makes up the majority of the cases, and is easily treatable with a variety of solutions.
Side Effects of Sleep Apnea
When the cessation of breath occurs, the brain triggers a panic response, alerting and awakening the body to restart breathing. Patients often do not notice their breathing has stopped or know that there is a problem. However, left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to a variety of adverse oral health affects including:
- Loud, chronic snoring
- Awaking gasping or out of breath
- Frequent morning headaches
- Dry mouth, especially upon waking
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Inability to concentrate
- Memory loss
- Personality changes
Traditionally, sleep doctors prescribed treatment using continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy. As the name implies, these systems use flowing air to keep the throat clear allowing patients to breathe deeply. However, numerous patients find themselves unable to adjust to these treatments or use their CPAP systems inconsistently due to frequent travel that makes these large systems inconvenient. Instead, we offer comfortable, portable oral appliance therapy for sleep apnea suffers. Custom made from high quality materials, these oral appliances shift the jaw forward, place pressure on the throat, and allow people to breathe easily through the night.