We not only specialize in comprehensive oral care but we also offer effective treatments for jaw disorders and sleep apnea. An estimated 18 million Americans experience some form of sleep apnea, and recent studies indicate two to four percent of all Americans have an undiagnosed case of this condition.
Sleep apnea can affect your ability to get a good night’s rest, impact your alertness while you drive, and even be a factor in other serious health conditions, including high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart failure.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a common disorder that occurs when a person’s breathing is interrupted or ceases during sleep. In most instances, the person is unaware of these breathing cessations, as they don’t prompt a complete awakening. Sleep apnea can affect people of all ages, but patients particularly at risk are typically males 40 years of age and older with certain physical traits such as being overweight and having a large neck, tonsils, tongue, or jawbone. Genetics also play a factor in susceptibility to sleep apnea, with conditions like deviated septums, allergies, and sinus issues often inflaming the tissue. There are different types of sleep apnea, each with distinct underlying causes and differences in symptoms. The types of sleep apnea are defined as:
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) – Obstructive sleep apnea is the more common form that develops in patients and is caused by an airway blockage, most often when the soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses during sleep.
- Central Sleep Apnea – Central sleep apnea is related to the patient’s central nervous system, caused by the brain failing to signal the muscles to activate the breathing process. This instability in the nervous system means there is a problem with the brain’s system to control muscles involved in respiration.
- Mixed Sleep Apnea – Also referred to as complex sleep apnea, this particular condition is when there is a combination of both obstructive and central sleep apnea.
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
Patients suffering from sleep apnea can exhibit many symptoms, and oftentimes, the first signs of the condition are observed or recognized by the bed partner rather than the patient. Many people who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea report no complaints in their quality of sleep, and many common signs of OSA are:
- Loud, chronic snoring
- Sleepiness and fatigue during the daytime
- Frequent restlessness during sleep
- Sudden awakenings during sleep
- Night sweats
- Frequently needing to urinate during the night
- Morning headaches
- Dry mouth or sore throat when waking up
- Cognitive impairment during the day such as irritability, memory loss, and trouble concentrating
- Decrease libido and sexual dysfunction
Patients who suffer from central sleep apnea are more likely to report issues with their sleep quality. Snoring is less common in this type of sleep apnea. The signs of someone who may be suffering from central sleep apnea include:
- Fragmented sleep
- Sensations of choking or gasping due to frequent awakenings
- Daytime sleepiness or fatigue
Our team of board-certified oral surgeons can ensure your sleep apnea treatment is comfortable, quick, and hassle-free.
Treatment for Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is treated with a multi-step approach that involves a thorough evaluation by a sleep specialist who collects patient health history and performs a physical exam followed by a sleep study. The sleep study provides a better understanding of the severity of the patient’s sleep apnea and a guideline for future treatment. Depending on the severity of sleep apnea, multiple treatment options are available.
- Fostering a healthier diet and exercise to lose weight
- Using a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device while you sleep
- Corrective surgery for a deviated septum, enlarged tonsils, or an overbite or underbite
If you have already tried continuous positive airflow pressure therapy in addition to self-help treatment recommendations, you may benefit from surgical treatment. Other alternative treatment options are available, such as using a mouthpiece designed to alleviate the symptoms of sleep apnea. Sleep apnea mouth guards can be used to effectively help treat mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea for patients who haven’t found relief from CPAP therapy. Sleep apnea oral appliances such as mouth guards provide more convenience, portability, and discretion.
Impacted wisdom teeth or those that do not fully emerge from the gum line must be removed to prevent oral infections or damage to adjacent teeth. We can remove your wisdom teeth quickly & safely.