A full night’s sleep is essential to your overall health. If you are well rested, you feel good and can function at your best. According to statistics, approximately 25 million adults in the United States suffer from obstructive sleep apnea and more than three times that number snore. At the office of Precision Dental Care, we provide care to address these issues so that you can enjoy a safe and uninterrupted night’s sleep
Sleep apnea is a serious and potentially life-threatening disorder involving repeated pauses in breathing while asleep. The most common form of this condition is obstructive sleep apnea. This occurs when there is an obstruction of an individual’s airway that interferes with the flow of oxygen through the nose or mouth during sleep.
In someone afflicted with obstructive sleep apnea, the muscles of the throat and mouth relax during sleep to the point where they fall back into the upper airway and create a blockage that restricts breathing.
The signs and symptoms of this disorder during sleeping hours may include, loud snoring, episodes of breathing cessation, abrupt awakenings, episodes of gasping for air, along with difficulties getting a good night’s sleep. An individual with sleep apnea will exhibit problems during the day as well. Sleep apnea can lead to a morning headache, excessive daytime sleepiness, difficulty concentrating, and irritability. Furthermore suffering with sleep apnea can be associated with other medical conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular and heart issues, gastric reflux and depression.
A sleep study is typically conducted to determine the severity of the disorder. The results of this study along with other medical findings will play a role in determining the recommended therapy. In some cases testing to diagnose obstructive sleep apnea and determine blood oxygen levels along with how well you are breathing while sleeping can be done in the comfort of your own home.
The most common form of therapy for obstructive sleep apnea is a CPAP machine that is worn while sleeping. This device provides a steady stream of pressurized air into the respiratory system through a mask.
In cases of mild to moderate sleep apnea, an oral appliance is often prescribed. Worn in a similar fashion to a mouthguard or an orthodontic retainer, this appliance is designed to help keep the tongue and soft tissues in the back of the throat from collapsing, thereby enabling the airway to stay open during sleep. Oral appliances are designed to the exact specifications of each case. They are custom crafted for a precise and comfortable fit as well as calibrated for maximum effectiveness. An oral appliance is not only easy to wear but it’s also easy to care for as well as comfortable, and portable. In addition to being an effective option in care for mild to moderate cases of obstructive sleep apnea and snoring, oral appliances may be considered for patients who refuse or are intolerant of CPAP therapy. Oral appliance therapy is covered by many medical insurance plans.
While conservative treatment to help ensure a healthy and restful night’s sleep is often effective, some case may require a surgical procedure to alleviate the condition. Physical airway obstructions such as a deviated septum, large tonsils and adenoids, or a bigger-than-average uvula many indicate the need for a surgical procedure. As a skilled and experienced practitioner of dental sleep medicine, Dr. Ochoa works collaboratively with physicians to provide patients with guidance on the healthiest options in care.
It’s also essential to keep in mind that lifestyle changes can provide relief from some of the symptoms of sleep apnea. Weight loss, regular exercise, cutting back on alcohol and not smoking may help to improve your breathing while asleep.
At the office of Precision Dental Care, we want every patient to enjoy the benefits of a good night’s sleep and optimal health. Dr. Ochoa is a diplomate of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine and collaborates with physicians in the diagnosis and treatment of sleep disordered breathing in both adults and children.
Getting a quality night’s rest can reduce your risk for a broad range of serious health conditions. To learn more about how we can help treat sleep apnea, give the office of Precision Dental Care a call today.
Dr. Stacy Ochoa is a Diplomate of the American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine.