Sleep apnea is becoming a more and more prevalent problem. It basically means that while you're sleeping, you stop and start breathing over and over again. It's been associated with depression, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and there is a simple treatment for it in the dental office. A lot of people go to their primary care and they end up with something called a CPAP, which is a big machine that tries to help them breathe, but a lot of people can't sleep very well with it. What we offer is an oral appliance therapy, which is FDA approved, that helps to move the jaw in a more forward position to keep the airway open. If you're snoring or you just want to get off the CPAP, come and see us.
If this sounds like you, then you might have sleep apnea. This is a serious condition where you stop breathing repeatedly at night while you try to sleep.
Know the First Signs of Sleep Apnea
While you sleep, you make noise. Most of the time, it’s not very loud. You might breathe loudly, mumble, or even snore on occasion. All of that is normal and not a problem. People who suffer from sleep apnea, however, do a lot more than occasionally snore. The snoring happens almost every night for hours and hours. It’s loud and disruptive. It wakes you up, but as soon as you start to wake, the problem goes away. You fall back asleep, snore, wake, fall back to sleep, and on and on. In a given night, someone suffering from serious sleep apnea can “wake up” more than 200 times.
3 Different Types Of Sleep Apnea
There are three types of sleep apnea.
- Obstructive: When you sleep, the muscles around your throat relax. This allows your tongue or soft tissues to close off your throat entirely, forcing you to wake up in a panic even without you being aware that you’re waking up.
- Central: During sleep, your brain doesn’t send the message to keep breathing.
- Complex: This unfortunate condition combines obstructive and central sleep apnea.
Despite the differences in these types of sleep apnea, the effects are mostly the same.
Losing Some Sleep Is A Big Problem
Simply put, your body and brain need sleep. Without rest, your body doesn’t heal as well. Your mind will also be fatigued. When you are sleep deprived from sleep apnea, you face immediate problems like irritability, fatigue, inattention, mood swings, being prone to mistakes, and even increased risk of car accidents. Your work and social life will soon start to suffer.
Those are just the short-term problems. In the long term, people with sleep apnea face depression, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. Because of the lack of oxygen levels and rest, sleep apnea can have a serious impact on your health.
Diagnosing Sleep Apnea
If you or someone you love is snoring badly almost every night, there’s a good chance sleep apnea is the cause. However, there is a test you can do at home. It’s called a home sleep test, that is offered by our Phoenix, AZ dental office as a sleep apnea treatment. You will wear a small device at night while you sleep. It collects data that Dr. Cavendish will sent to a neurologist for proper diagnosis.
You can also get your throat checked using a oropharyngeal meter. It measures the back of your tongue and size of your throat to see how likely they are to create breathing problems while you sleep. An acoustic rhinometer uses sound to measure your nasal passages and detect obstruction and congestion.
Modern Sleep Apnea Treatment
If you have sleep apnea, don’t worry. There are ways to work around it so you can finally get some sleep. If you have obstructive sleep apnea, a great sleep apnea treatment is an oral appliance that provides relief. This is a small mouthguard-like device that you wear at night when you sleep. It shifts your jaw slightly, which helps keep your windpipe open during sleep. And for some patients, we can bill your medical insurance for your sleep apnea treatment.