What Is Our Sleep Apnea Therapy?

 

sleep apnea

Did you know that we have sleep apnea therapy available to our patients? Sleep apnea is a condition where the muscles around your tongue and throat relax as you sleep, blocking the flow of air to your lungs. Those who suffer from sleep apnea literally stop breathing in the night, and it can lead to death. An estimated 18 million Americans suffer from this condition. Because we specialize in oral care, we are equipped to see the signs of sleep apnea and diagnose you properly. We also provide various devices for the mouth to hold your tongue in place while you sleep or to move your jaw forward. There are many causes of sleep apnea, but you need not suffer with proper diagnosis and treatment. If you experience any of the symptoms, let us know. We can help protect you while also keeping your teeth and gums healthy. Call our Family & Cosmetic Dentistry of the Rockies office today to learn more and to schedule your biannual checkup.

 

Signs and Symptoms

We may have all heard someone snore at one point or another during our lives. Did you know snoring is just one of the signs of sleep apnea? People can snore for many reasons, but there is cause for concern if you exhibit the following symptoms as well:

  • Snoring, choking or gasping while you sleep. (Some may awaken by choking or snorting.)
  • Insomnia, disrupted sleep.
  • Frequent daytime sleepiness and fatigue that goes beyond normal tiredness.
  • Decreased mental and emotional functioning or moodiness caused by lack of proper rest.
  • Daily headaches or migraines, especially in the morning.
  • Dry mouth or sore throat upon awakening (from breathing through the mouth at night.)

 

Sometimes the cause of sleep apnea cannot be determined right away. Being overweight, older and having a thick neck are all risk factors. Genetics play a role as well. The condition has been shown to run in families. Smoking, excessive use of alcohol, sedatives and tranquilizers can cause the onset. Nasal congestion (even just from allergies) can cause you to breathe through the mouth at night and can contribute to developing it. Sleep apnea is a serious condition, as the airways become blocked during the night. In some cases, death can occur.  Your tongue can block your airways, and not allow you to receive the oxygen you need. 

 

Sleep Apnea Statistics

  • 1 in 15 Americans have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, which equates to 18 million Americans.
  • It is estimated that an additional 2-4% of Americans have undiagnosed sleep apnea.
  • Males are more likely to have sleep apnea than females.
  • When airways are blocked, those suffering from sleep apnea can stop breathing anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes. Breathing without several minutes can damage brain cells or even cause death.
  • On average, sleep apnea can cause breathing to stop 30 times or more an hour. That is probably why fatigue is a common side effect as well.
  • Sleep apnea leads to fatigue, and fatigue leads to workplace hazards and increased risks for car crashes as well as medical problems. Medical problems come about when the body is unable to recuperate and heal itself at night with proper rest. Those who are fatigued contribute to about 20% of fatal car-crashes.
  • Most people with this condition snore very loudly, but snoring is not a sign itself that someone has sleep apnea.
  • Apnea is a Greek word meaning “want of breath”, so sleep apnea basically means “the want of breath during sleep.”

 

What We Can Do For You

When it comes to breathing, we only breath either through the nose or the mouth. At Family & Cosmetic Dentistry of the Rockies, we specialize in everything that has to do with the mouth. Many of our services seek to improve the function and strength of the teeth and gums, but we also target the entire mouth as a whole. Sleep apnea starts at the mouth and can be treated there as well. We are highly skilled in providing retainers and other devices to our patients for a myriad of problems (such as clenching the teeth, also known as bruxism).

We have also found that tongue-retaining devices, jaw advancing devices (JAD) and mandibular advancement devices (MAD) are effective treatments for sleep apnea. Those are all fancy words for mouth appliances (like retainers) that are used to prevent blockage of your airways while you sleep. The JAD and MAD devices work by moving the jaw forward at night, which increases the size of your airway and the amount of air you receive while sleeping. It also helps prevent snoring. Tongue-retaining devices do just what the name would suggest—they hold your tongue in place while you sleep so it doesn’t fall back and block your airway.

At Family & Cosmetic Dentistry of the Rockies, we always want our patients to be more informed about conditions they may have when it comes to keeping the mouth healthy. If you are suffering from sleep apnea or think you might be, we can help you learn more about your treatment options. To schedule your free consultation, call our office today at (970) 223-6101.

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