Sleep Apnea Screening and Treatment Q & A
Cool Springs Laser Dentistry
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a medical condition that results from the patient’s to keep their airway open when asleep and the stopping of airflow for 10 seconds or more. It’s commonly caused by an obstruction in your airway, which is why it’s often referred to as obstructive sleep apnea. If you snore, you not always, but most likely have some degree of obstructive sleep apnea. It affects your major organs, like your heart and kidneys, and can be life threatening.
Sleep Apnea is a condition that makes it very hard to get the right percentage of O2 to your vital organs while sleeping. The tongue and throat can relax to the point it closes up and you stop breathing. This will affect your cardiopulmonary system and can have detrimental effects on your overall health along with the possibility of death.
Sleep apnea may also result from insufficient brain signaling, called central sleep apnea. Breathing is typically a process that happens naturally, but with central sleep apnea, your brain is not sending your respiratory system the proper signals.
Either form of sleep apnea requires immediate medical treatment. If left undiagnosed and untreated, you are likely to suffer from sleep loss, fatigue, exhaustion, and mental fog due to an inability to reach deep sleep.
Recent studies have linked Alzhiemers to sleep breathing issues, so we all need to make sure our airways are open!!!
How do I know if I have sleep apnea?
To know exactly whether you have sleep apnea and at what degree you should have a sleep study. The results of the sleep study can help identify the best possible treatment for your need. Some signs of sleep apnea are grogginess during the day, feeling sleepy even after a “good” night’s sleep, snoring, and breathing stops during sleep.
Chronic, disruptive snoring indicates you may have sleep apnea, but it’s not the only symptom. Other signs include:
- Daytime sleepiness and feelings of sleep deprivation
- Difficulty concentrating
- Sexual dysfunction
- Learning and memory challenges
People who are overweight, have high blood pressure, and suffer from heart disease may be at greater risk of having sleep apnea.
How does a dental office treat sleep apnea?
Treating sleep apnea with a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine is the one best method for treating your sleep apnea. However, it’s not the only solution. and some people just can't tolerate the breathing machine.
Cool Springs Laser Dentistry offers a variety of dental care to treat sleep apnea. These include tongue retainers and mandibular advancement devices. The goal of these devices is to create a bridge within the mouth that opens your airways when sleeping. They basically reposition your jaw and tongue so there’s no interruption in the flow of air. If you have sleep apnea due to a large tongue or tonsils, you’re a good candidate for these types of treatments.
We also provide the NightLase LightWalker procedure by applying the non cutting laser light to the soft palate and under the tongue to shrink those tissues and open the back of the throat by promoting collagen production and making those tissues less loose in the oral cavity.
Are the dental appliances comfortable?
You only need to wear sleep apnea dental devices during sleep. It fits similarly to a mouth guard or orthodontic retainer.
The treatment is non-invasive and simple. Some of the advantages include:
> Ease of use
> Portable, so it’s convenient for travel
> Easy care and maintenance
I’ve had a CPAP machine but it was just too uncomfortable and I can’t use it. How does dental sleep medicine replace a CPAP?
The CPAP machine is the gold standard of care for sleep apnea, however, if you are unable to use it, it does not help. If the results of your sleep study indicate alternative treatments Dr. Rice is able to make a custom device that can help open the throat and improve breathing during sleep. There are several types of devices available, Dr. Rice can consult with you to determine the best possible option for you.