Snoring is a common condition, affecting about 90 million American. 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.
Snoring And Sleep Apnea Treatment In Cincinnati
This noise is essentially caused by the vibration of the tissues in the back of the throat during obstructed breathing that generally occurs while sleeping. Although snoring can be reduced 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 more serious health condition called sleep apnea. The ONLY way to correctly differentiate between the two is with a SLEEP STUDY.
Dr. Maria Bustamante, a local dentist in Cincinnati has special training to assist patients in identifying and treating snoring and sleep apnea.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF SLEEP APNEA?
Obstructive Sleep Apnea is most common. Breathing is actually disrupted many times during the night because of relaxed throat muscles collapsing and blocking the airway. When this happens, the brain receives less oxygen. 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, which also lowers the amount of oxygen to the brain and the rest of the body organs.
Mixed Sleep Apnea is a combination of Central and Obstructive Sleep Apnea. If it is not properly diagnosed, using 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.
To determine your options for treating sleep apnea, you need a sleep physician to perform a Sleep Study Test and analyze the results.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE CONSEQUENCES OF SLEEP APNEA?
Sleep apnea can lead to other health complications, some of them potentially very serious, including:
- Frequent Headaches
- Daytime Sleepiness/Difficulty Staying Asleep
- Heart Disease/High Blood Pressure (number one cause)
- Liver Problems
- Lower Workplace Performance
During your regular dental appointments, Dr. Bustamante may notice signs that could indicate the potential for sleep apnea, such as:
- Large tongue
- Large neck size
- Advanced age
- Bags under eyes or a tired look
- Large tonsils or adenoids
- Signs of teeth grinding
- High blood pressure
Did you know that you could have sleep apnea and have NONE of these observable conditions? Even children can have sleep apnea — most often related to swollen adenoids or tonsils. If we identify this early, sometimes expanding the upper arch 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 to adjust the position of the lower jaw forward so that it opens up the airway, allowing for easier breathing at night. An appliance like this usually also helps with noisy snoring. Some patients with severe sleep apnea or who can’t or won’t use a CPAP may still find relief 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. Some dentists will make a night guard and stop with that. However, without proper diagnosis, you could be masking another problem that may potentially lead to a heart attack! Even though one of the top causes for high blood pressure is sleep apnea, most medical doctors will just give blood pressure medication instead of looking into the possibility of sleep apnea.
There are also workarounds for our patients who have dentures or braces.
If you think you might be snoring or could have sleep apnea, please contact Seven Star Dental. Ask about our home sleep study in Cincinnati today!
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