Sleep Apnea and Airway Treatment
Sleep Apnea is a common disorder that causes interruptions in your breathing while you sleep. This serious condition prevents oxygen from reaching the brain, as sufferers of sleep apnea can stop breathing up to 400 times per night. As a result, they never feel fully rested and experience excessive daytime grogginess. Sleep apnea not only affects your sleep, but can also increase your risk of other health issues such as high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, cardiac arrhythmia, heart attacks, and even stroke. There are three types of sleep apnea: central, obstructive and complex.
- Central Sleep Apnea is caused when the brain fails to properly signal the muscles to breathe. It is very uncommon and snoring is generally not a symptom.
- Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common form of sleep apnea, which affects an estimated 1 in 7 people in the U.S. With OSA, the muscles around the throat and airway relax, causing the airway to collapse. Sometimes the tongue falls back and obstructs the airway as well. The brain can no longer receive oxygen and sends a signal to the muscles to open, often causing the person to wake up with a gasp or a snort. Most of the time, sufferers do not recall waking up during these episodes.
- Complex Sleep Apnea is a combination of central and obstructive sleep apnea.
Many patients who suffer from sleep apnea are informed by a partner, family member, or friend, as sleep apnea is typically accompanied by loud snoring and gasps for air. That said, there are a number of other symptoms that could be indicative of sleep apnea as well. Some symptoms to be on the lookout for include:
- Waking up with dry mouth
- Morning headaches
- Excessive daytime drowsiness
- Difficulty concentrating
- Decreased libido
- Difficulties with memory
- Nighttime sweating
- Gasping for air while sleeping
- Heavy snoring
At Winnetka Dental Arts, we work closely with sleep physicians to procure the best treatment for each individual case. For Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), we often prescribe oral appliance therapy, or the use of a device that is worn while you sleep. The oral device is very similar to a mouth guard; it fits comfortably into your mouth while you sleep to support the jaw in a forward position and prevent any obstruction of the airway.
If you suffer from Central Sleep Apnea and Complex Sleep Apnea, we may need to consider more complex procedures. In these cases, a sleep physician will recommend the correct procedure, which will be determined on a case-by-case basis. That said, these types of sleep apnea are quite rare, so if you are experiencing any of the aforementioned symptoms, it is likely that an oral appliance will be of great benefit to you.
If you believe you could be suffering from sleep apnea, we want to help! Call Winnetka Dental Arts today to book your appointment and take your first step toward a more restful night’s sleep.