Many of our patients visit our office looking for help with their sleep apnea. Sleep apnea and sleep-disordered breathing are growing health concerns that affect millions of people, many of whom suffer from the effects long before they are properly diagnosed and treated. As your trusted dentist in Nixa, MO, we wanted to provide you with some additional information on sleep apnea, what it is, and how it can be treated.
Causes of Sleep Apnea
The collapse of the soft tissues at the back of the mouth is the typical cause of repeated cessation of breathing during sleep. When this occurs, the body and organs are momentarily deprived of oxygen, and patients typically wake up gasping for air or snoring loudly. While anyone is able to develop sleep apnea, even children, there are certain risk factors that elevate your risk for it. For example, if you are overweight, male, or over the age of 40, you are more likely to develop sleep apnea.
Health Concerns Related to Sleep Apnea
While snoring might seem harmless, sleep apnea is actually related to a variety of risks and health concerns. Daytime fatigue is a huge consequence of sleep apnea, which puts patients at risk when operating heavy machinery. Because your body needs sleep to regenerate itself at night, any disruptions to this process can cause long term health concerns as well. The frequent, sudden drops in blood oxygen levels throughout the night put patients more at risk for high blood pressure or heart problems. It has also been linked to insulin resistance, leading to the development of Type 2 diabetes.
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
The most recognizable symptom of sleep apnea is loud snoring. If your roommate or partner has told you that you frequently wake them up due to your snoring, there is a possibility that you are experiencing sleep apnea. Other symptoms include gasping for air while you sleep, waking yourself up throughout the night, experiencing fatigue throughout the day, dry mouth, and irritability.
Treatment Options for Sleep Apnea
For mild to moderate cases of sleep apnea, Dr. McLauchlin offers oral appliance therapy. If oral appliance therapy is considered the right option for your needs, Dr. McLauchlin will work with you to evaluate your airway and design a custom-fit appliance to be worn at night. This oral appliance will hold your jaw and soft-tissues in a healthier resting position while you sleep, preventing them from collapsing on themselves and causing you to snore. For more extreme cases of sleep apnea, CPAP machines are recommended. CPAP uses air pressure to keep the airway open and reduce apnea and snoring.
Schedule An Appointment
Our team is committed to the long term health, comfort, and beauty of your natural smile. From routine dental cleanings and exams to advanced treatment and procedures to address dental concerns like sleep apnea, our office does it all. We are here for you when you need us the most. If you suspect you have sleep apnea, please schedule an appointment.