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What is Sleep Apnea?

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What is Sleep Apnea?

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Do you feel very tired during the day, even if you slept for a sufficient number of hours? Do you have a hard time staying asleep at night? If so, you may suffer from a condition known as sleep apnea. This is a sleep disorder characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep. 

Types of Sleep Apnea

To have your sleep apnea condition properly treated, you need to know the type you have. The different types of sleep apnea are: 

Obstructive Sleep Apnea 

Also known as OSA, this condition occurs when the airway is physically blocked at the back of the throat. When this happens, you experience temporary lapses in breath. OSA is estimated to affect between 2-9% of adults in the United States alone, however, many cases are said to go undiagnosed.

Central Sleep Apnea

This condition is often called CSA, and happens when there is an issue with how the brain is controlling the muscles involved in respiration, leading to a slower and more shallow breathing. CSA is less common, affecting less than 1% of adults over the age of 40. 

Mixed Sleep Apnea 

As titled, if you experience mixed sleep apnea, it means that you are experiencing both types of apneas, obstructive and central.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea 

If you are experiencing OSA or CSA, you may experience a number of different symptoms. You may be suffering from this sleep disorder if you notice the following symptoms and signs: 

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Irritability and personality changes 
  • Frequent loud snoring 
  • Difficulty staying asleep
  • Choking or gasping sensations during sleep
  • Frequent morning headaches
  • Awakening with a very dry or sore throat
  • Difficulty concentrating

Risks of Not Treating Sleep Apnea

If you do not treat this disorder, it can lead to a number of serious health problems, and it may even be life threatening. If left untreated, you could experience: 

  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Heart failure, irregular heart beat, and even heart attacks
  • Diabetes
  • Depression
  • Worsening of ADHD
  • Headaches 

To protect your health, it’s important that you are treated as soon as possible for your apnea. At Mountain Aire Dentistry, we specialize in treating patients who have OSA. 

Treatments for Sleep Apnea

For those who have a mild-to-moderate case of this disorder, getting a dental appliance like a custom-made oral appliance can help prevent your tongue from blocking the throat. Additionally, it can also advance the lower jaw forward. During sleep, this will help keep your airway open. This oral appliance fits in your mouth and is only worn while you sleep; it works by preventing obstructions in your airway throughout the night, allowing you to breathe continuously.

If you’re a candidate for an oral appliance, Cleveland Clinic explains, your dentist will make an impression of your teeth. Then, the device will be made and you’ll come back when it’s ready for a fitting. From there, you will thoroughly learn how to properly use and care for your appliance. If needed, further adjustments can be made to make sure you get the most out of it.

This appliance will help you breathe better at night, getting more rest and preventing more serious, life-threatening conditions from happening due to sleep apnea. 

Why Dentists Can Treat Sleep Apnea 

If you didn’t realize that dentists could treat this disorder, know that they are some of the most qualified to do so. Dentists are one of the few specialists who can actually identify patients with OSA. When you undergo a routine dental checkup, your dentist can recognize a small upper airway and other anatomic risks that may make you susceptible to experiencing OSA. In fact, a study published with the US National Library of Medicine explains that some dentists ask simple screening questions to help reduce the problem of under-diagnosis of OSA.

Additionally, OSA patients are more at risk for issues like dry mouth, tooth decay, and other dental health issues. A dentist, like Dr. Robert Berry, can help prevent these problems and treat your OSA. 

Call Mountain Aire Dentistry

If you have noticed these signs in yourself or a loved one, we recommend that you contact Dr. Robert Berry and our team at Mountain Aire Dentistry. Our dentist has been trained in treating obstructive sleep apnea. For more information about how we can treat sleep apnea in Broomfield, Colorado, and set up your visit with our dentist, we welcome you to contact us today at Mountain Aire Dentistry by calling: (303)-731-7755. Get better sleep with our help today!