Sleep apnea is a chronic condition that causes sufferers to experience breathing pauses or shallow breathing while sleeping. Because it occurs when the patient is asleep, this disorder often goes undetected until a companion or family member notices symptoms such as snoring. Once detected, however, it is important to seek treatment for sleep apnea to prevent the harmful effects of the condition and improve your overall health. We offer sleep apnea treatment at his dental practice serving the greater Long Island, NY, area. If you are struggling with symptoms of sleep apnea or have already been diagnosed and are interested in learning more about treatment, contact our office to schedule a consultation with one of our dentists.
What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?
Patients with sleep apnea may experience varied symptoms, including:
- Memory problems
- An inability to concentrate or stay awake during the day
- Feelings of irritability, depression, mood swings, or personality changes
- Frequently waking during the night
- Dry mouth, sore throat, or headache upon waking in the morning
Children can also suffer from sleep apnea. Symptoms in children may include:
- Poor performance in school
- Hostile behavior
What causes the condition?
There are two kinds of sleep apnea: obstructive and central. Central sleep apnea (CSA) is caused by irregularities in brain signals that regulate breathing during sleep. CSA requires the attention of a specialist. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) results when the muscles in your throat relax to the point that your airways become partially or fully blocked. Physical issues that can cause this obstruction include:
- A large tongue and tonsils that create blockage
- Being overweight
- Having a smaller airway in the throat
When the airway is obstructed, it can result in insufficient airflow to your lungs. As a result, sufferers often snore loudly and experience drops in blood oxygen levels, which disrupts their sleeping pattern by causing them to awaken briefly. Waking up tightens the muscles, opens the airway, and initiates normal breathing once again.
Why should I seek treatment for sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea treatment is important because it can renew your energy and enhance the quality of your sleep. Treatment can also improve health conditions related to sleep apnea. High blood pressure and increased risk for heart disease, stroke, and irregular heartbeats are all associated with sleep apnea. If left untreated, sleep apnea can also affect the way your body uses energy, which could put you at greater risk for obesity and diabetes.
What does treatment involve?
There are several treatment methods for addressing sleep apnea. Lifestyle changes can have a significant impact on alleviating the disorder. Our doctors often advise sufferers to avoid alcohol and medications that cause drowsiness. Patients may also be advised to lose weight, sleep on their side rather than their back, take allergy medications to open the nasal passages, or quit smoking.
Lifestyle changes may not be enough, however. During your consultation, the dentist may recommend a custom mouthpiece, which repositions the lower jaw and tongue to keep your airway open while you sleep. Customized dental splints are a comfortable and minimally invasive to help our patients achieve deep sleep.
More severe cases of sleep apnea often require a device that creates pressure in your airway. A continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine includes a mask worn over your nose and sometimes your mouth. The CPAP machine delivers air into your throat, which creates pressure and keeps your airway open. Similar devices include a bilevel positive airway pressure (BPAP) and expiratory positive airway pressure (EPAP) machine.
Contact Our Practice
If you are struggling with sleep apnea, contact us to learn more about treatment options. During you consultation, your dentist will perform a comprehensive evaluation and create a custom treatment plan. Sleep apnea treatment can enhance your sleep, boost the quality of your daily life, and improve your overall health.