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If your dreams turn into nightmares because of a lack of a good night’s sleep, you may be suffering from sleep apnea. The National Institutes of Health estimates more than 25 million Americans have the sleep disorder. Sadly, many aren’t aware they have the disorder and one study estimates only 16 percent of sleep apnea sufferers seek treatment.
The common sleep disorder, which affects adults and children alike, is the cessation of breathing during sleep. Your doctor can arrange a sleep study to confirm the diagnosis, but don’t lose any more sleep about it. There are several viable options for treatment, including visiting your dentist.
Yep, you read that right. In recent years, dentists have become part of the solution your sleep woes. The traditional treatment has long been the CPAP mask which uses air pressure to keep your throat and airway open. If this doesn’t work for or appeal to you, your doctor may refer you to Huntington Family Dental Group where our specially trained dentist is qualified to treat your apnea with Oral Appliance Therapy, also known as OAT.
Our dentist in Shelton is eager to help you get a good night’s sleep with one of our innovative treatments. Please call us today at (203) 916-1173.
What Happens if Sleep Apnea Remains Untreated?
Your overall health is dependent on adequate and restful sleep so it’s important to have sleep apnea diagnosed and treated. The disorder occurs when your airway becomes blocked and you stop breathing multiple times during the night. Obstructions include your tongue, excess tissue in the throat, obesity, nasal blockage or an enlarged uvula or tonsil. These sleep interruptions can dangerously lower the body’s oxygen levels, forcing your brain to wake you up to take a good breath. Sleep apnea can interrupt your sleep dozens or even hundreds of times a night, leaving you tired when the alarm goes off.
If left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to severe health problems including heart attack, stroke, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, memory issues and an inability to concentrate.
What are Some Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?
We aren’t encouraging self-diagnosis, but please seek input from your doctor if you suffer one or more of these symptoms that include daytime fatigue or sleepiness, loud snoring, weight gain or loss, heartburn, headaches and/or sinus problems, gasping for air during the night and nighttime perspiration.
If it’s determined you suffer sleep apnea, ask your doctor if Oral Appliance Therapy in Shelton is a treatment that could work for you.
How Does Sleep Apnea Occur?
There are three forms of sleep apnea and only a proper diagnosis by a doctor can determine which one you have:
- Obstructive sleep apnea is the blockage of your airway caused by a genetic abnormality such as excessive tissue in the back of the tongue, throat or nose. This form of the disorder best responds to Oral Appliance Therapy.
- Central sleep apnea results when the brain fails to activate muscles responsible for breathing.
- Mixed sleep apnea (also called complex sleep apnea) is when elements of central sleep apnea and obstructive sleep apnea are present.
How Can My Dentist in Shelton Help Me with Sleep Apnea?
Oral appliance therapy (OAT) has been used to successfully treat mild to moderate sleep apnea and snoring caused by a recurring airway obstruction. Our dentist at Huntington Family Dental Group may be able to correct the ailment with a custom-made oral appliance that is worn during when you sleep. The oral appliance, which keeps the airway open, may seem familiar because if looks like a sports mouth guard or a retainer.
A tongue-retaining device may be prescribed If your sleep apnea is caused by your tongue resting on the airway. The dentist also may provide headgear to reposition your jaw if that is determined to be the cause of your sleep apnea. No surgery is needed for these devices, they are all removable and are only worn when you sleep.
People suffering severe sleep apnea are usually not good candidates for oral appliances because the treatments don’t’ adequately correct their issues. Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy remains the accepted form of care for those patients but alternative can be sought if you have difficulty wearing the CPAP mask or do not respond well to the CPAP treatment. Consult your primary care physician or sleep specialist about other options that might serve you better.
Schedule a Sleep Apnea Treatment Consultation Today
Turn the nightmare of sleep apnea into a night of sweet dreams. Please speak with our experienced dentist in Shelton today for a sleep apnea treatment consultation.