It seems that more and more people are being diagnosed with sleep apnea these days — more than 12 million in the USA alone! As you may already know, sleep apnea is a serious condition resulting in the airway becoming blocked during sleep, often reducing or completely preventing airflow. That lack of quality sleep can make a difference to your overall health and well-being.
Not only does sleep apnea interrupt the sleep cycle, but it can also lead to other problems such as headaches, high blood pressure, memory problems, weight gain, impotence, cardiovascular disease and more. Patients with sleep apnea may also experience extreme fatigue and may be prone to injury due to lack of sleep.
Who tends to get sleep apnea?
There are many variables that may contribute to sleep apnea including obesity, neuromuscular conditions, nostril structure, genetic disorders, heart or kidney failure – even premature birth can be a factor. Sleep apnea most typically affects men, people who are overweight, and those over the age of 40, however, no one is exempt, including children, who can also develop the condition.
It’s important to note that all sleep apnea is not created equal – there are three basic types including:
Obstructive sleep apnea – the soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses and blocks the airway
Central sleep apnea – the brain stops sending proper signals to the muscles and that, in turn, causes irregular breathing
Mixed apnea – a mix of both obstructive and central sleep apnea
That’s why it’s also important to be diagnosed and treated… and the sooner the better! If left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to other health issues like cancer, diabetes, heart attacks, glaucoma, as well as behavioral and cognitive disorders.
Our dentists can offer a CPAP alternative
Do you think you might have sleep apnea? Do you snore excessively or wake up frequently during the night? Or maybe you already know you have it but can no longer tolerate the mask, noise, and inconvenience of your CPAP machine another day. A trip to the dentist might just put you on the right path to better nighttime breathing.
Dentists are often the first line of defense because we are the first to recognize the signs of restricted airways which often lead to sleep apnea. At Modern Dental Concepts we are thoroughly trained to address your sleep breathing issues. During your exam, Dr. Adler or Dr. Sheth-Adler will examine your oral tissue and ask important questions about your sleep quality.
Often, custom-made apnea guards can be a good starting place in correcting sleep apnea before moving to more complex systems like CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) systems or even surgery. Or other times, there might be a jaw alignment issue that can be corrected with an oral appliance to help improve nighttime breathing.
Patients with mild to moderate sleep apnea have reported great success with the custom-fit mouthguard and find it a particularly good alternative if they are unable to tolerate a CPAP machine or perhaps just have a snoring problem.
Do you suspect you might have sleep apnea? Call (330) 847-0676 today and make an appointment to get your nighttime breathing under control.