A Simplified Guide to Sleep Apnea Treatment

A Simplified Guide to Sleep Apnea Treatment

Jun 04, 2021

Sleep apnea is a severe and potentially life-threatening sleep disorder where breathing repeatedly stops throughout the night. Usually, air flows from the mouth and nose into the lungs smoothly and at all times. However, in individuals with sleep apnea, this smooth airflow is interrupted, often resulting in chronic snoring. Snoring is the harsh, vibrating sound formed as air struggles to move through obstructed or constricted airways.

Snoring can be short-lived or chronic. When it’s chronic, it’s usually a source of concern.

While snoring is a crucial symptom of sleep apnea, not every snorer has sleep apnea. Snoring can occur if your nose is blocked from a cold or when you’re experiencing an allergic reaction to dust, pollen, and other allergens.

If you’re a snorer and have been experiencing headaches, fatigue, restlessness, and daytime drowsiness, we recommend getting in touch with Wellesley Dental Arts for sleep apnea treatment in Wellesley, MA.

3. Types of Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea occurs in three forms: obstructive sleep apnea, abbreviated OSA, central sleep apnea, and mixed sleep apnea. Sleep apnea procedures are customized to respond to the type of sleep apnea being treated.

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea
    OSA occurs when the airways become narrowed or collapse during sleep. OSA is the most prevalent type of sleep apnea.
  • Central Sleep Apnea
    Central sleep apnea is occasioned by the brain’s failure to send the right signals to the respiratory system.
  • Mixed or Complex Sleep Apnea
    Mixed, complex, or treatment divergent central sleep apnea is a combination of OSA and central sleep apnea.

Sleep Apnea Symptoms and Risk Factors

You may be highly susceptible to obstructive sleep apnea if you:

  • Have large tonsils and adenoids. This condition usually occurs in children.
  • Are a man with a collar size of more than 17 inches i.e., you have a large neck circumference.
  • Are a woman with a collar size of more than 16 inches.
  • Have a large tongue.
  • Have retrognathia, i.e., your lower jaw is smaller than your upper jaw.
  • Have a narrow palate.
  • Are a heavy smoker.
  • Have diabetes.
  • Are overweight.
  • Have family members who have obstructive sleep apnea.

Symptoms of central and obstructive sleep apnea often overlap. Besides snoring, other sleep apnea symptoms to look out for include:

  • Abrupt awakenings during sleep. These are often accompanied by choking or gasping.
  • Dramatic mood changes, e.g., feeling depressed or irritable for no apparent reason.
  • Morning headaches.
  • Daytime sleepiness.
  • Nighttime sweating.
  • Difficulty paying attention or concentrating.
  • Waking up with a sore throat or even a dry mouth.
  • Decreased libido.

Individuals with sleep apnea often may not even be aware of the same, especially if they live alone. That’s why it’s crucial to schedule regular dental exams with your dentist. Dentists are trained to identify sleep apnea-related symptoms that may not be apparent to the untrained eye.

The Patient Experience

To diagnose sleep apnea, the dentist evaluates your oral and overall health and asks about your symptoms. Then, several tests and checks are conducted. For example, the dentist may check your mouth, nose, and throat to identify any extra tissue or anomalies. The dentist may also take readings of your blood pressure and measure your neck and waist circumference.

In addition, a sleep study may be undertaken.

A sleep study measures your oxygen levels, heart rate, lung and brain activity, arm and leg movement, and breathing patterns while you sleep. You may undergo your sleep study at home or in a sleep study center. Usually, dentists reach out to sleep specialists when they need to undertake sleep studies. The outcome of the sleep study helps the dentist and sleep specialist determine if you have sleep apnea and then map the next sleep apnea procedures.

Sleep Apnea Treatment Options

Wellesley Dental Arts tailors every sleep apnea treatment to suit the needs of the patient. Sleep apnea treatments include:

  • Lifestyle changes. The dentist may advise you to lose weight if you’re overweight, incorporate exercise in your daily routine, quit smoking, eat healthier foods, and consume only moderate amounts of alcohol.
  • Oral devices. Tongue-retaining devices (TRDs) and mandibular advancement devices (MADs) keep the airways open during sleep by keeping the tongue and jaw in their correct positions to prevent airway collapse.
  • Surgery. Severe cases of sleep apnea may warrant surgical intervention. Surgical therapies include surgical removal of tissue, i.e., uvulopalatopharyngoplasty and jaw surgery to correct jaw irregularities.

Call Now for a Consultation

Unaddressed sleep apnea can cause long-term health complications and make you susceptible to heart disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension or high blood pressure, and liver problems.

If you’re ready to address your snoring or sleep apnea problem, get in touch with Wellesley Dental Arts today.

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