Sleep apnea is a disorder in which you stop breathing for several seconds, multiple times during the night. There are two primary types of sleep apnea: central and obstructive. Central sleep apnea is a result of miscommunication between the brain and breathing muscles. Treating this form of the disorder often requires medical intervention such as a CPAP machine.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) occurs when the pallet, tongue, and throat collapse into the airway during sleep. CPAP machines are sometimes used to treat this type of sleep apnea, but some patients find them uncomfortable and, in some cases, the machine can even interfere with a good night’s sleep.
The most common symptom of sleep apnea is loud and chronic snoring. Other symptoms that occur during sleep include choking or gasping for air, long periods of breathing cessation, and restlessness.
Find out more about sleep apnea here:
- Sleep apnea symptoms
- Sleep apnea risk factors
- Sleep apnea consequences
- Sleep apnea treatment
- Contact our dentist
Sleep Apnea Symptoms
Sleep apnea occurs when the soft tissues of the throat collapse while a patient sleeps, blocking airways. The brain, sensing a lack of oxygen, signals the sufferer to awaken, interrupting sleep. Sometimes the patient is aware of waking up and may do so abruptly, gasping for breath. In many cases, however, the patient only subconsciously awakens and may have no idea that he or she is suffering from nighttime sleep disturbance at all. Therefore, it’s important to be able to identify seemingly unrelated symptoms in order to seek help for the condition.
The most common symptoms of sleep apnea include
- Loud snoring
- Repeated cessation of breathing during sleep
- Abrupt awakening
- Shortness of breath
- Waking up with a dry mouth or sore throat
- Daytime drowsiness
- Difficulty concentrating
Because victims of sleep apnea may not realize they have the condition, it’s often a sleep partner who notices the symptoms. If you notice any of these symptoms, you should talk to a doctor about undergoing a sleep study. If you are diagnosed with OSA, our Medford dentists can work with your doctor to find the most effective sleep apnea treatment for you.
Left untreated, the consequences of sleep apnea can be severe, leading to significant cognitive disruptions, as well as increasing your risk for hypertension, heart disease, and other serious medical conditions.
Sleep Apnea Risk Factors
Sleep apnea may be linked to a family history of the disorder or genetic factors such as narrow airways. It may also be linked to allergies or chronic congestion.
Some of the leading risk factors for OSA include:
- Being overweight
- Leading a sedentary lifestyle
- Excessive alcohol use
- Narcotic or sleep aid use
- Tobacco use
- Metabolic syndrome
Sleep apnea is more common in men than in women, and risks increase with age. However, anyone can suffer from sleep apnea. If you are experiencing symptoms, you should discuss them with a doctor as soon as possible. If you are diagnosed with OSA, we would be happy to answer your sleep apnea questions and discuss treatment options with you in more detail.
Sleep Apnea Consequences
Having proper sleep rhythms is of the utmost importance for your body to perform necessary functions properly. This is why serious sleep problems can affect many of your systems. If sleep apnea goes untreated for too long, it can heighten your risk of several serious medical problems, including:
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Heart attack
- Heart failure
The list of minor health complications is even longer. Sleep apnea causes issues with short-term memory, concentration, mood swings, headaches, and drowsiness throughout the day. Many people with sleep apnea find they have trouble staying awake while driving, leaving open the possibility of a serious car accident.
Sleep Apnea Treatment
Treatment for sleep apnea depends on the type of sleep disorder you have. Central sleep apnea is frequently treated with a device that helps regulate your breathing while you’re asleep. It’s known as a continuous positive airway pressure machine (CPAP). While CPAP machines are effective, they are very loud and often very difficult for your sleeping partner to get used to sleeping through. Our dentists offer a variety of other treatments, including oral surgery options that may help remedy your sleep apnea problems.
Obstructive sleep apnea is more common, and our dentists treat this type of sleep apnea with a MicroO2 removable device. The only way to know if this sleep apnea treatment will be effective for you is to schedule a consultation with our experienced dentists.
What is MicroO2?
MicroO2 is an orthotic device that is worn while sleeping. This custom made mandibular advancement splint is designed to fit snugly into your mouth and works by moving your lower jaw slightly forward. This device holds your jaw and tongue in a certain position, preventing tissue collapse and allowing for proper airflow.
MicroO2 is a safe, effective, and comfortable alternative to invasive CPAP machines and, when used in conjunction with lifestyle changes such as increasing exercise, stopping smoking, and reducing alcohol intake, can often address even advanced cases of sleep apnea. Your exact treatment plan will depend on factors unique to your disorder, but we will work closely with you and your sleep doctor to ensure the optimal solution for your needs.
If we determine MicroO2 is right for you, we will provide you with a portable sleep monitor to gauge its effectiveness. This tool is invaluable to both our dentists and your sleep doctor as it can provide information on the effectiveness of your treatment and help determine if more advanced methods are necessary.
During your initial consultation we will discuss treatment and answer any sleep apnea questions you may have to help you decide which course of action is most suitable to meet your needs.
Contact Our Dental Office in Medford, Massachusetts
If you live in or around Boston, Medford, Cambridge, Somerville, or Winchester, Massachusetts and have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, please contact Cosmetic & Esthetic Dentistry today to discuss your treatment options.
Our dentist and in-house oral surgeon will thoroughly evaluate you and determine how to treat your sleep apnea in the most comfortable ways possible.
To schedule a consultation, please contact us today by filling out the form on this page or calling (781) 350-4385.