If you wake up as tired as when you went to bed, you may suffer from sleep apnea and may require sleep apnea treatment. Characterized by short lapses in breathing, sleep apnea affects an estimated 12 million Americans. Sleep apnea is like mild annoyance and can be a cause of other health problems like heart disease, blood pressure, memory loss, and daytime drowsiness.

Defining Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which the patient experiences shallow breathing or pauses in breathing during sleep. These sleeping problem can occur several times while you sleep, and lead to major health complications.

Because sleep apnea can impact other areas of your life, it’s important to take any symptoms seriously and visit your dentist or physician for sleep apnea treatment. You must talk to sleep apnea expert if you are suffering from sleep apnea.

sleep apnea treatment

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Common symptoms of sleep apnea can include:

  • Abnormal sleep patterns
  • Choking during sleep
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Difficulty with concentration
  • Dry mouth or a sore throat in the morning
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Falling asleep at inappropriate times
  • Frequent pauses during sleep due to breaks in breathing
  • High blood pressure
  • Irritability
  • Loud snoring
  • Sudden awakenings to restart breathing
  • Waking up in a sweat

The four types of sleep apnea are:

  • Obstructive sleep apnea – Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common form of sleep apnea disorder. It occurs when your throat closes as the individual inhales while you sleep. Because of the disorder the patients cannot consume the air and suck it into their lungs. The soft tissue of the pharynx expands and relaxes too while muscles relax during sleep and preventing air flow in the upper respiratory tract. This prevention reduces the amount of oxygen in the blood and forces the patient to wake up and take a deep breath. Men from age 30 to 50 are the main group affected by OSA. People may often feel the mild obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) in their lives, but a severe OSA requires a proper sleep apnea treatment.
  • Central sleep apnea – Central sleep apnea, also known as Cheyne-stokes respiration, is a rare form of sleep apnea. It occurs when the brain temporarily fails to control the breathing muscles.
  • Mixed apnea – Mixed apnea is the combination of obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea. Constantly recurring OSA may sometimes be the reason for central sleep apnea. Cardiovascular, respiratory conditions, weight-related problems can cause mixed sleep apnea.
  • Complex sleep apnea – Complex sleep apnea is a type of mixed sleep apnea. Even after obstructions to breathing is removed, you may still suffer from sleep apnea.

Factors that Influence Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea is caused when soft tissue in the airway relaxes. Obesity is the main reason for OSA, as the people with obesity carry more muscles and tissue mass. OSA is also linked with some other health problems like nasal congestion and alcohol consumption. OSA in children occurs because of enlarged tonsils and adenoids.

Central sleep apnea is rare in healthy individuals. Any medical condition that occurs in brainstem controls can trigger central sleep apnea, as this part of the brain controls the breathing. There are some certain medical conditions that can cause central sleep apnea such as cardiovascular condition, advanced arthritis, encephalitis, and neurodegenerative conditions (Parkinson’s disease).

The Importance of Sleep Apnea Treatment

Sleep apnea can give you the complications like whole day tiredness, inattentiveness at work, mood swings, accidents risks, high blood pressure, etc. Sleep apnea can increase the heart failure and stroke risks. Your children must be far away from this problem, however children, who are affected by sleep apnea, may become aggressive, high strung, hyper, and prone to bed wetting. They may have also unusual sleeping positions.

Diagnosing Sleep Apnea

If you are suffering from high blood pressure, heart disease, or epilepsy, your dentist or sleep apnea expert can recommend you the diagnostic examination to look for sleep apnea disease. Physical examination for adults includes measuring for a wide neck, looking for enlarged tonsils, and assessing upper body obesity. In children examination, a doctor examines for the enlarged adenoids and confirm if your child has deficit issues.

Doctors examine the patient’s medical history also to diagnose sleep apnea. Symptoms such as drowsiness, headaches, heartburn, and patient medications can influence the diagnosis. A sleep study is performed in a sleep lab to determine whether the individual has the sleep apnea or not.

Sleep Apnea Treatment

After a diagnosis of sleep apnea, your doctor will review treatment surgical and non-surgical options. Non-surgical treatments include medications, behavioral changes, dental appliances, and use of a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP).

  • Medication – Nasal airway obstruction can be the reason for sleep apnea which is controlled by nasal steroid sprays. And hypothyroidism treatment helps to reduce the problem of sleep apnea that is pertaining to the thyroid condition.
  • Behavioral changes – In most of the cases, behavioral and lifestyle changes may be the best treatment for sleep apnea. The most effective solution is to reduce your overweight and avoid the sleeping positions that increase the snoring.
  • Dental appliances – Sleep apnea can be controlled by dental appliances. The dental appliance is custom fit by sleep apnea expert to control the sleep apnea problem. Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines use air pressure to ensure that the soft palate does not sag during sleep. The pressurized air is delivered to the patient through a face mask. As the person breathes, gentle air pressure keeps the air passage open and prevents sleep apnea.
Snore Treatment

Snoring is a very common condition that can be a cause of sleep apnea. However, most of the people do not realize that snoring is a serious health problem. Heavy snoring can be a symptom of obstructive sleep apnea, a condition that is potentially dangerous and can be life-threatening. Generally, sleep apnea is associated with headaches, hypertension, and strokes. We can custom fit our dental appliance that helps in controlling the snoring. This small device is fitted in your mouth to prevent the collapse of throat tissues. So, we can say that snore treatment is also very important in sleep apnea treatment.

Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)

Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is a neuromuscular disorder. This can damage your teeth. Children usually outgrow the condition. Stress can be the common cause of your teeth grinding. Night guards can be the most effective devices to treat your teeth grinding. Night guards are made of high-grade plastic. They prevent your teeth from grinding and help in sleep apnea treatment. You must examine the comfort and durability before purchasing any night guard. You can find the readymade night guards at many stores but a sleep apnea expert may provide you with the custom fit night guard.

Mouth Guard

Do you suffer from the pain in your jaws while you wake up in the morning? Do you have some sensitivity in the teeth? Do you feel some difficulty in opening or closing your mouth? Do you get routine headaches? These could be clear signs of grinding or bruxing.

Reasons For Grinding

The exact reason for grinding is still unknown but there are some factors that are associated with this problem such as:

  • Stress and anxiety
  • Drug abuse
  • Excess use of Caffeine
  • Smoking
  • Excess use of alcohol
  • Some prescription medication
  • Mal-Occlusion or miss-bite
  • And finally some disorders such as:
  • Parkinson’s disease

There is currently no cure for bruxing but it can be controlled. Sleep apnea expert may recommend you a night guard, in case you are grinding your teeth during the day or night. A night guard is a plastic cover that fits over your teeth to deflect the hard forces of chewing. A night guard can be a very helpful device in sleep apnea treatment.

Night Guard Treatment

When you first visit your dentist or sleep apnea expert, the impressions are taken of your teeth. After taking the impressions, they are sent to a dental lab and then the process of making a custom-fit night guard begins.

During the second visit, your dentist will explain to you that how this device works. There are many several night guards from soft to harder materials. Flintridge Dental Group always recommends you the best material that will definitely suit you.