Over the last 10 years, quality of sleep has been at the forefront of medical research and discovery. While it is no secret that a good night’s sleep can improve daily tasks and cognitive abilities, it is becoming more and more apparent that the general population suffers from underlying conditions such as sleep apnea. While it is not always easy to diagnose, sleep apnea is a treatable disorder that doesn’t have to involve bulky masks or Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) devices. Over the last five years there have been advancements that you can obtain through your general dentist in order to cure you from sleep apnea and improve sleep for the long term.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts throughout the night. A patient with sleep apnea will find themselves gasping for air in the middle of a sleep cycle, often Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep. Often, the patient will awake in the middle of the night having difficulty breathing, often gasping for air. In the most severe cases, the patient will stop breathing for 30 seconds or more.
As the patient is unable to breathe, this can cause strain and stress on the heart and lungs. Because the patient is asleep, more often than not the disorder will be undiagnosed for years potentially damaging the cardiovascular system permanently.
There are two types of sleep apnea:
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) – The relaxing of the throat muscles, blocking the flow of air to the lungs.
Central sleep apnea (CSA) – A neurological response from the brain, blocking signals to the muscles that control breathing.
Is Sleep Apnea Dangerous or Fatal?
Typically sleep apnea is a treatable disorder that can be diagnosed and often cured. However, in severe cases, often related to age and weight, it is possible to die during untreated obstructions from sleep apnea. The risk is believed to be higher in the elderly, people with underlying conditions, critical illnesses, obesity, or people with severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).
What are the Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?
Because the patient is sleeping, it is often difficult to treat sleep apnea. Often, it is reliant upon the partner’s spouse or family to diagnose the disorder. Some common symptoms of sleep apnea are:
- Gasping for air in the middle of a sleep cycle.
- Awakening with dry mouth.
- Difficulty staying asleep.
- Hypersomnia due to lack of sleep.
Can My Dentist Provide Treatment For Sleep Apnea?
Because breathing takes place from the mouth and into the lungs, dental professionals are a great resource in treating sleep apnea. By incorporating a dental device during sleep, the jaw, mouth, and tongue are supported by opening up the bronchial airways.
There are three categories of dental devices:
Mandibular Advancement Devices – These devices are designed to adhere to the lower and upper teeth. Often molded from hard plastics, this device incorporates metal hinges and screws that can be tightened to push your lower jaw forward, creating a better flow of oxygen into the lungs.
Mouth Guards – These devices are less cumbersome and provide a similar effect. Designed to reposition the lower jaw these devices are created by taking an impression of your teeth and molding the device to the patient’s mouth. Adjustments can be made during the molding process to enhance the desired effect.
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Device (CPAP) – In extreme cases, a CPAP device is used to cover the nose while sleeping. The device is strapped to the patient’s head, providing airflow through a long tube in order to provide more air to the patient while they sleep. These devices can be bulky and confining but provide the required airflow to mitigate the risks of sleep apnea.
Suffering from Sleep Apnea? Book an Appointment with Red Bank Dentistry.
If you or a loved one is suffering from sleep apnea, we can help. With over 50 years of experience in general dentistry, Red Bank dentistry is here to help diagnose and treat sleep apnea. We provide free consultations and have helped dozens of people create better sleeping arrangements through best practices and devices. We look forward to speaking with you today visit us at: https://www.redbankdentistry.com/