What You Need to Know About Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a health disorder that affects millions of Americans. More often than not, a person is unaware that one is suffering from it. Studies show that up to 90 percent of people with the disorder are undiagnosed. Sleep apnea is characterized by breath pauses during sleep that can last for 20 to 30 seconds. Several indicators of sleep apnea are choking, snoring, snorting, and teeth grinding. That is why it is often the sufferer’s partner who notices the condition first.
Sleep apnea is often regarded as the most common of all moderate to severe sleep disorders. Although there are two types of sleep apnea, there is one type that is most prevalent – obstructive sleep apnea or OSA for short. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when there is a short interruption in the patient’s regular pattern of breathing whilst they are asleep. This happens as a result of a physical blockage in the airway, caused by the soft tissues of the throat and neck collapsing. When an episode of obstructive sleep apnea occurs, the patient will appear to be temporarily holding their breath. Their body quickly recognizes the lack of oxygen being passed through it and prompts the muscles of the respiratory system to take an extra-large breath to start the breathing process once more. This may sound like a snort, snore, or gasp.
It is possible for patients to experience anywhere from a couple of episodes in one night of sleep, to more than a hundred. As you might expect, this will have a significant effect on your ability to get good quality sleep, and it may even affect your partner’s sleep too. It can also affect your mood and health. People who have OSA are more likely to develop high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, adult asthma, and acid reflux. They are also more likely to gain weight and have an increased risk of being involved in a car accident.
Types of Sleep Apnea
There are two types of sleep apnea:
Central sleep apnea:
The first type is known as central sleep apnea. Central sleep apnea is a known nervous system disorder caused by a disease or injury involving the brainstem. This causes delayed signals from the brain to the breathing muscles. Once breathing stops, oxygen levels begin to decrease. People suffering may not snore, but do experience shortness of breath.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA):
The other type of sleep apnea is known as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which is more common than central sleep apnea. OSA is caused by a blocked airway that results from an over-relaxed tongue and muscles, bone and facial structure deformities, and obesity. When the airway is blocked, the person will stop breathing and start to snort and gasp.
When the oxygen level is reduced, the carbon dioxide level goes up. The brain will try to wake the person in order to normalize the breathing process. The brain will try to open the airway by adjusting the throat and tongue muscles that lead to loud snoring. The person suffering from obstructive sleep apnea will not be aware of snoring or remember waking up for that short period of time.
Both types of sleep apnea have different causes. However, the effects are the same including, reduced levels of oxygen in the brain, excessive daytime sleepiness, depression, fatigue, and poor sleep. If the oxygen level reaches a very low level, sleep apnea can also lead to heart irregularities and high blood pressure. The disorder can also disturb one’s partner due to the loud snoring.
Symptoms Of Obstructive Sleep Apnea
If you sleep alone, it isn’t always easy to recognize that you are suffering from a sleep disorder such as sleep apnea. However, if you are experiencing any of the following, it could be that you have OSA. They include:
- Feeling very tired during the day
- Finding it hard to concentrated/experiencing brain fog
- Suffering mood swings
- Morning headaches
- Persistent snoring
If you suspect you may have sleep apnea, you should arrange to speak to your dentist to be assessed and find out about the treatments that are available.
Treatment Options For Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Fortunately, there are several options when it comes to treatment for obstructive sleep apnea. Lifestyle changes such as losing weight, eating better, and avoiding relaxants such as alcohol before sleep can play a very successful role in reducing and eliminating sleep apnea. It is normally advised that patients try these before considering alternative treatments.
CPAP machines are a very effective treatment for sleep apnea. They work by delivering continuous positive airway pressure which pushes past the obstruction and enables you to breathe easily. However, patients must wear a mask over their face whilst they sleep, and this can be uncomfortable for some.
Mandibular devices are also popular. These work by improving the position of the jaw and retaining the tongue so that the airway cannot become blocked.
The devices that we provide are supplied through Vivos. These safe, effective, and non-invasive oral appliances are designed specifically for the treatment of maxillary hypoplasia and mandibular retrognathia – two of the most significant underlying conditions causing sleep apnea.
The Vivos® System
Pecan Park Dental is a Vivos® Integrated Practice where we provide sleep apnea treatment with The Vivos® System. The Vivos® System involves the following steps to ensure that you receive the most effective treatment custom-designed to fit your needs:
1. Initial Consultation:
During your initial consultation with our team, you will undergo a variety of diagnostic procedures:
- Preliminary Health Questionnaire & Screening
- Head _ Neck Examination
- CBCT Scan
- Intra-oral Photos + Measurements
- In-Home Sleep Test
2. Comprehensive Diagnosis:
Then, we will perform a thorough and complete assessment of your screening results to arrive at an accurate diagnosis.
3. Airway Intelligence Report:
Once you have completed diagnostic procedures and required tests, our team will compile your Airway Intelligence Report
- Complete Assessment and Evaluation
- Airway Measurements
- Treatment Goals
- Treatment Plan
- Health Insurance + Financing
4. Life During Treatment:
You will wear your Vivos device as directed, for between 12 and 24 months, primarily in the evening and at night while you sleep. Most patients feel the effects of treatment within the first few days or weeks. During treatment, periodic adjustments to your appliance are made by our dentists.
If you would like more information about sleep apnea and the treatments available, our team is on hand to help. Please contact Pecan Park Dental in Arlington, TX for more information.
Before your visit please fill out the following forms for Sleep Apnea New Patients: