Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that affects a person’s breathing during sleep. This often undiagnosed condition can be serious, risking not only a person’s dental health but also their overall health and wellbeing.
This sleep disorder is characterized by periods when breathing stops for a few seconds to a few minutes. Most people who have sleep apnea are aware of symptoms and problems, but don’t know what’s causing them. There are several symptoms one may experience with this sleep disorder, including…
- Loud snoring with periods of silence due to lapsed breathing
- Awakening during the night with shortness of breath
- Excessive drowsiness during the day
- Difficulty staying asleep
- Waking in the morning with a headache, dry mouth, or sore throat
- Gasping or shortness of breath
- Blood pressure not controlled by more than one medication
- Weight gain or difficulty losing weight
- Gastric reflux at night
- Clenching teeth while sleeping
- Frequent urination at night
Having this disorder can lead to other health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart problems, and liver problems. A person with undiagnosed sleep apnea may also experience unexplained mood swings and depression. Loud snoring may also disturb family members. Children with sleep apnea often have difficulty in school and exhibit a failure to thrive. Fortunately, at Brookside Dental Care, we offer a treatment option that has proved highly effective and helped to improve our patient’s quality of life.
There are two forms of sleep apnea. Central sleep apnea is caused by improper signals from the brain to breathing muscles. Obstructive sleep apnea happens when throat muscles relax too much and tissues from the upper airway block air flow to the lungs. At Brookside, we treat people with the second type – obstructive sleep apnea – by fitting the patient with a personalized dental appliance that allows the throat to remain open during sleep. The dental appliance helps to realign the jaw and tongue, preventing soft tissue from collapsing into the back of the throat. While the CPAP machine remains the gold standard for sleep apnea treatment, the FDA has approved Mandibular Advancement Devices (MAD) as a first line of treatment for mild to moderate sleep apnea. As such, there are several benefits to a dental appliance, including…
- Size – they are small
- Comfort – they are custom fitted to each person’s mouth
- Easy – placement and removal are simple
- Portable – take them with you anywhere you visit
- Non-invasive – this is not a permanent oral appliance
- Easily tolerated by most people
To learn more about obstructive sleep apnea and how a dental appliance may help you improve your overall health, call Brookside Dental Care today, (610) 624-6070.