Sleep Apnea Care and Snore Guards
Germantown Dental Group offers treatment for sleep disorders such as sleep apnea and snoring. These sleep disorders not only are daily annoyances for patients who suffer from them, but can also become serious hindrances affecting their physical, mental, and emotional health. One of our dentists will be happy to meet with you to discuss your concerns.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea, or obstructive sleep apnea, is a potentially serious disorder in which breathing starts and stops during sleep due to a brain nerve transmission or excess soft tissues in the mouth, nose, or throat closing. It results in less oxygen to the brain, heart, and tissues affecting memory retention, tissue repair, resistance to infection, and daytime sleepiness. You have likely heard the phrase: “He died in his sleep.” This phrase often refers to sleep apnea, which has become both a national and a worldwide epidemic.
Snoring is a common nuisance to many when a vibrating noise occurs during sleep often disturbing the sleep of the spouse or partner. Lifestyle changes such as weight loss, avoiding alcohol in the evening, or sleeping on one’s side may aid in minimizing snoring. Our practice also offers advanced treatments for both snoring and sleep apnea that can address these issues and help patients attain a more peaceful, healthier night’s sleep.
What are the Treatment Options for Sleep Apnea and Snoring?
Anyone who snores or has noticeable cessation of breathing during sleep should have a sleep study to determine whether sleep apnea or another condition is present. These tests can have serious insight and impact on patients’ overall health. For more information on sleep apnea and treatment, contact our Germantown office for a consultation today.
To understand how to treat sleep apnea and snoring should be treated, our dentist and staff will first try to target the root cause of these ailments. Often, a dental misalignment or oral issue may be to blame for sleep disorders. In these cases, we will create a dental plan to fix any issues when necessary. If the cause is medical or otherwise, we are happy to recommend treatment from specialists and other doctors.
The most widely used treatment for sleep apnea is a CPAP therapy machine (continuous positive airway pressure therapy), which forces air into the lungs during sleep. The CPAP machine covers either a patient’s full mouth and nose, only the nose, or has prongs that are placed within the nostrils. Patients may also consider surgery to remove the excess soft tissue. Another alternative is an Intraoral Appliance to hold the airway open during sleep, allowing air to enter the lungs, and stop the noisy vibration.
One of the top cosmetic dentists at Germantown Dental Group can analyze your sleep hygiene issues and help you understand your condition. Our professionals can fit patients with SomnoMed® Appliances when appropriate. These include sleep apnea appliances as well as mouthpieces that stop bruxism or teeth-grinding (which often accompanies sleeping disorders). Sleep apnea appliances are often covered by medical insurance.
Contact our sleep dentistry-trained professionals at Germantown Dental Group today for an in-depth analysis into how your sleep habits may be affecting your overall health.
Sleep Apnea Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
In addition to the information above, we have provided the following answers to some of the more frequently asked questions about sleep apnea. If you would like more information, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team.
What are the symptoms and risks of sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea can cause a number of symptoms and increase severe risks to your health and livelihood, including:
- Breathing pauses while sleeping
- Heavy snoring
- Health conditions such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes
- Sudden cardiac death
- Gastric reflux disease (GERD)
- Weight gain
- Loss of memory
- Inability to fully concentrate/focus
- Sexual dysfunction
What are the types of sleep apnea?
There are three major types of sleep apnea:
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive Sleep Apnea, often referred to as OSA, is the most common type of the condition. In fact, it has been estimated that more than 20% of adults and a significant number of children suffer from OSA. This type of sleep apnea is characterized by the narrowing of airways caused by the soft oral or nasal tissues becoming too relaxed during sleep. OSA can ultimately lead to multiple extended breathing pauses that last for several seconds. Gasping for air or a feeling of choking can occur as the body makes desperate attempts to alert the brain that breathing has stopped.
Obesity is a very common cause of OSA. Orofacial anatomy can also be a factor. In addition to seeking a diagnosis and treatment for suspected sleep apnea conditions, individuals can take steps to improve their sleep by maintaining a healthy weight, exercising, avoiding excessive amounts of alcohol, avoiding sleep medications, and setting up their bedrooms in a way that allows for a quiet, dark, and peaceful environment.
Central Sleep Apnea
Central Sleep Apnea, or CSA, is not as common as Obstructive Sleep Apnea; however, it is just as serious. CSA occurs due to the brain’s inability to send signals to muscles that control a normal breathing process. Severe obesity, cervical spine problems, an infection in the brain, conditions that affect the brainstem, and/or certain kinds of medication may contribute to Central Sleep Apnea. Like OSA, this type of sleep apnea can cause dangerous breathing pauses while sleeping.
Complex Sleep Apnea Syndrome
Complex Sleep Apnea Syndrome is a combination of OSA and CSA. This type of the disorder is often referred to as “mixed” sleep apnea.
Do I have sleep apnea?
While a professional evaluation and diagnosis of sleep apnea is the best way to positively determine whether or not you have the condition, there are several warning signs to be aware of. Snoring is one of the most common symptoms, and breathing pauses during sleep are also significant indications that you have a dangerous form of the disorder. Frequent visits to the bathroom after you’ve gone to bed may also be symptomatic of sleep apnea, and daytime symptoms such as fatigue, headache, difficulty staying focused, and depression can be signs that sleep apnea is present. Not everyone who has sleep apnea experiences the same symptoms. If you suspect that you or a loved one is showing signs of sleep apnea, it is important to have an exam as soon as possible to determine whether the condition is present.
How dangerous is sleep apnea?
While there are different levels and types of sleep apnea, the fact is that the condition can be extremely dangerous and dramatically increase risks to your life and overall health. Sudden cardiac death can occur during sleep as the result of sleep apnea. This and the many other serious ramifications that can develop because of the disorder makes it vital for individuals who suspect they may have sleep apnea to seek a diagnosis and treatment as quickly as possible.
What should I do if I suspect a loved one has sleep apnea?
One of the more troubling aspects of sleep apnea is that, by its very nature, the condition manifests during sleep, so the person who has it may not even realize it. If you observe a loved one exhibiting signs of breathing pauses or other symptoms of sleep apnea, it is important to let them know immediately. Professional evaluations and sleep tests can determine whether the condition may be present, and there are numerous advanced treatments available that can reduce the effects of sleep apnea. In addition to the CPAP machine and other standard sleep apnea treatments, customized oral appliances offer effective options that many patients find to be more comfortable alternatives to traditional techniques.
If you suspect that you or a loved one may have sleep apnea, please contact Germantown Dental Group for more information