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When the alarm sounds in the morning do you feel as if you could roll over and sleep for another seven or eight hours? If so, you may may be suffering from sleep apnea. More than 25 million Americans suffer with the sleep disorder, according to The National Institutes of Health and many people don’t know they have the ailment. One study estimates about 16 percent of sleep apnea sufferers never seek treatment.
Sleep apnea is characterized as the cessation of breathing during sleep, which sounds frightening, but is actually a common problem affecting both adults and children. If you think you may have this sleep disorder, please talk with your doctor about participating in a sleep study to confirm the diagnosis. If it’s determined apnea is your problem, don’t worry. There are several treatment options which, in the end, hopefully lead to more restful sleep.
You may be surprised to learn that dentists are now playing a role in helping you get proper rest. The traditional treatment for sleep apnea is a CPAP mask that uses air pressure in the throat to keep the airway open. If this treatment doesn’t work for you or is uncomfortable, your doctor may refer you to Dental Associates of Kendall, where our specially trained dentist is qualified to treat the disorder with Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT).
To find out how our dentist in Miami can help you conquer your sleepless nights, please call us at (305) 459-3204.
What Happens if Sleep Apnea Remains Untreated?
Getting enough rest is on the short list to maintaining your health, so it’s important to have sleep apnea diagnosed and treated as early as possible. People with this disorder stop breathing numerous times during the night, often because of a blocked airway. Obstructions include the tongue, excess tissue in the throat or nose, obesity, or an enlarged uvula or tonsil. These frequent interruptions can dangerously lower the body’s oxygen levels which forces the brain to wake you up so you can take a full breath. Sleep apnea can interrupt your sleep dozens or even hundreds of times a night, likely making you tired and listless in the morning.
If sleep apnea remains untreated for too long, it can lead to other health problems, including stroke, heart problems including cardiovascular disease and heart attacks, high blood pressure and memory issues.
What are Some Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?
The symptoms of sleep apnea should not be ignored. If you suffer one or more of the below ailments, please seek medical attention. Signals of sleep apnea include:
- Daytime fatigue and sleepiness
- Persistent loud snoring
- Gasping for breath while sleeping
- Short-term loss of memory
- Lack of focus
- Weight gain or loss
- Headaches and sinus issues
When consulting your doctor, ask if Oral Appliance Therapy in Miami is a proper course of treatment for you.
How Does Sleep Apnea Occur?
Here are the three most common reasons for a sleep apnea diagnoses:
- Obstructive sleep apnea is an airway blockage caused by a hereditary abnormality including excessive tissue in the back of the tongue, throat or nose. Obstructive sleep apnea usually responds well to prescribed Oral Appliance Therapy.
- Central sleep apnea results when the brain doesn’t send correct signals to muscles responsible for breathing.
- Mixed sleep apnea (sometimes called complex sleep apnea) is diagnosed when the symptoms of both central sleep apnea and obstructive sleep apnea are present.
How Can My Dentist in Miami Help Me with Sleep Apnea?
Oral Appliance Therapy, also called OAT treatment, is used to correct mild to moderate sleep apnea and snoring caused by repeated airway obstruction. Our dentist at Dental Associates of Kendall may be able to correct obstructive sleep apnea by fitting you with a custom oral appliance that is worn while sleeping. The oral appliance, which keeps the airway open, may give you a flashback to your childhood because it resembles a sports mouthguard or a retainer.
Your tongue also may be complicit in your sleep apnea diagnosis. If the tongue rests on your airway, a retaining device from your dentist may be able to correct the issue. If your jaw is the problem, our dentist can provide a device or headgear that will reposition your jaw and provide the solution to your sleep issue. These devices are only worn as you sleep and are removable.
If you suffer a more severe sleep apnea you aren’t a good candidate for oral appliances. Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy remains the preferred care for those patients. However, if you have difficulty wearing the CPAP mask or do not respond well to CPAP treatment, please talk to your primary care physician about other treatment options.
Schedule a Sleep Apnea Treatment Consultation Today
You work and play hard – you should be rewarded with a good night’s sleep and we want to help. Please contact our well-trained dentist in Miamitoday for a sleep apnea treatment consultation that puts you on a path to sweet dreams.