Sleep apnea can cause serious health problems such as heart trouble and high blood pressure if left untreated. This disorder happens when breathing is interrupted during sleep. Individuals with sleep apnea will stop breathing repeatedly when sleeping. Besides, the condition can contribute to job impairments, motor vehicle crashes, and work-related accidents. Our dental professionals at Michelle Hedgecock, DDS can offer solutions for your sleep apnea.
Who Gets Sleep Apnea?
This disorder affects people of all ages. Babies, children, people above age 50, and individuals who are overweight are the most affected. Certain physical traits, as well as clinical features, may be common in people who experience sleep apnea. Excess weight, large neck, as well as structural abnormalities that reduce the diameter of airways, for instance, nasal obstruction and enlarged tonsils are some of the features you will find with people that experience sleep apnea.
Read more about who gets sleep apnea.
Types of Sleep Apnea
Often, there are different types of sleep apnea with the common one being obstructive sleep apnea. The other one is central sleep apnea. In obstructive sleep apnea, there is partial or complete blockage of the upper airway during sleep. In central sleep apnea, your airway is not blocked, but the brain is unable to signal the muscles to allow breathing because of instability within the respiratory control center.
Symptoms and Causes
Obstructive sleep apnea arises due to blockage of the airways. This happens when the soft tissue within the rear part of the throat collapses when sleeping. Often, the first signs are not recognized by the patient. Other people such as a bed partner will recognize them. The common symptoms and signs are snoring, daytime fatigue or sleepiness, sudden awakenings, the sensation of gasping, restlessness during sleep, dry mouth, frequent nighttime awakenings, and sore throat upon awakening. A patient may also experience cognitive impairment like trouble concentrating, irritability, and forgetfulness. Mood changes, night sweats, headaches, and frequent nighttime urination are also common in patients with sleep apnea.
Treatment of Sleep Apnea
We recommend that you seek non-invasive treatment first. Our dentist will suggest wearing a removable oral appliance that looks like a mouthguard since it provides a convenient treatment choice. The appliance is discrete and does not make noise. To get additional oxygen, you may want to use a CPAP machine, however, it can be loud. Also, CPAP can be uncomfortable to wear. Another type of treatment is OSA, which involves surgery to remove the extra fatty tissue that tends to block the airway.
It is easy to wear your oral appliance. We fabricate the appliance to meet your needs, ensuring that it fits well in the mouth. You place the appliance in the mouth during sleep and it remains there until the time you wake up. This appliance holds the lower jaw in such a way that it remains in a forward position. As a result, it helps prevent your tongue from falling or going back, thereby keeping the airway clear.
If sleep apnea is getting in your way and preventing you from having a quality life, visit us at Michelle Hedgecock, DDS. We will examine you and find solutions to your problem. Contact us at (512) 617-3361 to book an appointment.