Sleep apnea is a potentially dangerous and common sleep disorder that is characterized by breathing interruptions during sleep. Individuals with sleep apnea typically experience heavy snoring and may struggle to sleep through the night. Untreated sleep apnea can impact your well-being in various negative ways, including making you more susceptible to certain diseases such as hypertension and heart disease.
While chronic snoring is usually an indicator of sleep apnea, not all snorers have sleep apnea. To receive an accurate diagnosis, you should seek the services of a sleep specialist. An at-home or in-lab sleep study is typically done to diagnose sleep apnea. Our dentist at Wellesley Dental Arts will work with your sleep doctor to provide sleep apnea treatment in Wellesley, MA.
There are three main types of sleep apnea—obstructive, central, and mixed sleep apnea.
Obstructive sleep apnea, abbreviated OSA, is undoubtedly the most common form of sleep apnea. OSA occurs when the throat and other respiratory muscles relax during sleep, restricting proper airflow. When this happens, the air moves forcefully through the relaxed muscles, leading to the loud vibrating sound that we know as snoring.
Central sleep apnea is precipitated by the brain’s failure to send proper signals to the muscles that control breathing. Mixed or complex sleep apnea is a combination of obstructive and central sleep apnea.
Key risk factors for sleep apnea include excess weight, being male, age, family history, and neck circumference.
Common sleep apnea symptoms include loud snoring, excessive daytime sleepiness, restlessness and irritability, difficulty concentrating when awake, gasping for air during sleep, awakening with a dry mouth, and morning headaches.
If you’re experiencing these symptoms, our dentist in Wellesley, MA, can help you get the care you need.
After an initial evaluation, your sleep doctor may recommend a sleep study as a means of gathering more insights into your unique needs. A sleep study is an assessment conducted to obtain crucial information regarding your heart rate, blood oxygen levels, breathing patterns, and airflow as you sleep. Depending on your case, your doctor may recommend a home sleep test or a monitored, overnight sleep study. The outcome of the sleep study determines your next treatment steps.
Patients with obstructive sleep apnea often respond well to oral devices that keep the throat muscles from collapsing. These devices include tongue retaining devices (TRDs) and mandibular advancement devices (MADs). Custom-made oral devices hold the jaws and tongue in their correct positions, preventing obstruction and ensuring smooth and uninterrupted airflow.
To learn more about sleep apnea treatment near you, get in touch with Wellesley Dental Arts for a comprehensive consultation.