• Sleep Apenea

     

    Sleep apnea is a condition requiring special attention and can become a danger if ignored. Essentially, a person with sleep apnea suffers from interrupted breathing during sleep. This means that breathing stops at intervals during sleep. If you snore loudly and feel tired despite a full night's sleep, then you may want to get a checkup for this condition.

    Millions of people suffer from the effects of snoring and obstructive sleep apnea and they may not even know the full extent to which this disease can be harming their health. Whether they themselves endure the effects of poor and disrupted sleep or their loved ones do they are struggling to find simple, effective options to resolve their problem.

    If you suspect that you may have sleep apnea it is important to be checked. The sooner you start treatment to ease the symptoms the better since timely treatment will prevent heart problems and other complications.

    Noticeable Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

    • Loud snoring
    • Breathing interruptions witnessed by others
    • Sudden awakening due to short breath
    • The patient awakens with a sore throat or dry throat
    • Headaches in the morning
    • Insomnia
    • Hypersomnia (excessive sleep through the day)
    • Difficulty paying attention
    • Irritable mood

    Causes of Sleep Apnea

    A major cause of Obstructive Sleep Apnea is that the muscles at the back of the throat relax. These muscles are responsible for supporting the soft pallet, the soft tissue hanging from the pallet (uvula), sides of the throat, the tongue, and the tonsils. When the muscles at the back of the throat relax during sleep, the airway closes, causing difficulty in breathing, which is almost like choking while asleep. This lowers oxygen in the blood as well. The patient awakens feeling breathless and often don't remember waking up. People around the patient may witness the patient gasping, choking and snorting. However, the person sleeping may not be aware of this at all. In fact, many patients with this condition think they actually slept well.

    Risk Factors of Sleep Apnea

    Who is most vulnerable for sleep apnea? Anyone can suffer from this condition, even children.

    • Obesity
    • Thick-necked people
    • Narrow airways
    • Men are twice as prone
    • Older people
    • Family history
    • Smokers
    • People with heart disorders
    • Stroke victims
    • People using narcotic pain medications

    Complications of Sleep Apnea

    Some complications accompanying Sleep Apnea include:

    • Daytime fatigue
    • High blood pressure
    • Heart problems
    • Type 2 Diabetes
    • Metabolic Syndrome
    • Liver problems
    • Sleep-deprived partners

    Sleep Apnea Dental Treatments

    For milder conditions of Sleep Apnea, doctors at Admired Smiles may recommend changes in lifestyle and some preventive dentistry measures. Patients may be advised to lose weight and quit smoking.  New device technologies help open the airways while the patient sleeps peacefully.

    Therapies for Obstructive Sleep Apnea

    Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) – This is a simple machine that delivers air pressure through a mask, which enables the patient to breathe well while sleeping.

    Other Airway Pressure Device – Other devices deliver airway pressure. The Auto-CPAP is a device that adjusts the pressure in the airways automatically. The design of some appliances is such that they bring the jaw forward to relieve the patient from snoring.

    Jaw Repositioning – The technical name for this is "Maxillomandibular Advancement", and employs the use of a custom appliance (see image). Oral appliance therapy may provide the solution. It has been proven to be a highly effective treatment for snoring and obstructive sleep apnea.  The appliance is also less obtrusive to wear and easier to maintain than a CPAP machine. It is an appliance similar to a retainer that helps hold the jaw in the correct position for optimum airflow.  This appliance has changed many people's lives for the better by improving quality and possibly quantity of life.

    How We Can Help

    The first step is to book an appointment with our doctors at Admired Smiles. We will examine the severity of the condition and recommend tests before planning the best treatment. While we specialize in treating Sleep Apnea, we are also a Family Dental practice. As a new patient at our Hingham dental office, we welcome your questions about the treatments we provide. We can be reached at (781) 749-3030.