Snoring and Sleep Apnea in Cincinnati
Snoring is a common condition that approximately 90 million American have. The good news is, that for most people, it is more of an annoyance to a bed partner, however, it can also be an indication of something more complex that can affect your health.
This noise is essentially caused by the vibration of the airway tissues in the back of the throat during obstructed breathing that generally occurs while sleeping. Although snoring can be lessened or even corrected by losing weight, limiting alcohol and smoking, or repositioning of your head while sleeping, more than 50% of the people who snore may have some degree of a potentially more serious health condition called sleep apnea. The ONLY way to correctly differentiate between the two is via a SLEEP STUDY.
Dr. Maria Bustamante, a local dentist in Cincinnati has special training to assist patients in identifying and treating both snoring and sleep apnea.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea is the most common type of Sleep Apnea. The breathing actually gets disrupted many times during the night because of relaxed throat muscles collapsing and blocking the airway – thereby lowering the oxygen to the brain. People with severe cases of sleep apnea might stop breathing up to one hundred times in an hour!
Another type of Sleep apnea is called Central Sleep Apnea. This is when the brain doesn’t send a signal for the body to breath, thereby lowering the oxygen to the brain and the rest of the body organs.
Mixed Sleep Apnea is a combination of both Central and Obstructive Sleep Apnea. If it is not properly diagnosed, using only a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) can potentially make things worse! On the other hand, an Oral Appliance may help with this condition when it is mild to moderate.
A sleep physician’s recommendations is needed to help determine your options based upon a Sleep Study Test.
What are Some of the Consequences of Sleep Apnea?
- Frequent Headaches
- Daytime Sleepiness / Difficulty Staying Asleep
- Heart Disease / High Blood Pressure (number one cause)
- Liver Problems
- Depression / Anxiety / Irritability
- Lower Workplace Performance
- Much, much more…
Commonly observed conditions by a dentist used to identify patients with sleep apnea include:
- Large tongue
- Large neck size
- Advanced age
- Bags under eyes or a tired look
- Large tonsils or adenoids
- Family history
- Signs of tooth grinding
- High blood pressure
Did you know that you could have sleep apnea and have NONE of these observable conditions as well! Even children can have sleep apnea – most often related to swollen adenoids or tonsils. If we identify this early, sometimes by expanding the upper arch it will help make more room to breathe.
It has been shown that patients with mild to moderate sleep apnea can often be treated by a dentist using an oral appliance that is custom-made and will adjust the position of their lower jaw forward such that it opens the airway space allowing for easier breathing at night. An appliance like this usually also helps with the snoring noise. Some patients with severe sleep apnea or who can’t or won’t use a CPAP may still be helped with an oral appliance or combination therapy.
For any of our patients who may need a night guard for clenching at night, we also like to test for sleep apnea because grinding is one of the symptoms of sleep apnea. Some dentists will make a night guard and stop with that. Again, without proper diagnosis, you could potentially be masking another problem which could lead up to a heart attack or daytime! Even though one of the top causes for high blood pressure is sleep apnea, most medical doctors will end up only giving blood pressure medication instead of looking into the possibility of sleep apnea.
There are methods to work-around for our patients who have dentures or braces.
If you think you might be snoring, please contact Seven Star Dental in Cincinnati today for an exam!