Sleep apnea is a disorder where people stop breathing while they sleep. There are two different kinds, Central Sleep Apnea and Obstructive Sleep apnea. In Obstructive sleep apnea, there is something in your airway that blocks air from getting in and reduces the oxygen in your body. The blockage can be caused by your tongue or something in your nose that prevents breathing through your nose at night. In severe cases, this can happen hundreds of times in one night!
Usually, the air blockage is either from your tongue blocking your throat or an obstruction in your nose. Many people with crowded or worn-down teeth have less room in their mouth, creating less room for their tongue, pushing their tongue into their throat and increasing risk of an airway blockage while they sleep. Weight gain is also a common cause of sleep apnea as it puts pressure on the airway.
Sleep apnea creates an increased risk for multiple general health issues. These include high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, depression, anxiety, dementia, Alzheimer’s, stroke and pre-mature death. Many of these diseases are caused by inflammation in the body. When you are not getting deep, restful sleep, your body cannot heal as well, creating a cycle of inflammation and health issues.
Some patients with sleep apnea have no symptoms and are unaware of the disorder until more severe health consequences begin occurring or someone observes them holding their breath while sleeping. Others can feel tired during the day, falling asleep easily while watching the tv or just sitting down, or they will have difficulty concentrating. Some people will snore or wake up easily during the night, including waking to use the bathroom.
The types of sleep apnea include Central Sleep Apnea and Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Central Sleep apnea is caused by something happening in your brain that turns off automatic breathing at night and must be treated by a sleep physician. Obstructive sleep apnea is caused by an obstruction in your nose or throat that blocks air from traveling to your lungs. You then have to wake up to start breathing again each time this happens, so it is difficult get deep, restorative sleep.
Sleep Apnea is diagnosed by a sleep physician. At Dyras Dental, we screen patients for signs in your mouth that indicate you may have a sleep breathing disorder. We will then discuss our findings with you to determine if a referral to a sleep physician is needed.
For patients that have been diagnosed with Obstructive Sleep Apnea, we will fabricate an Oral Appliance that positions your jaw forward to open up your throat at night so that breathing can be maintained. It is a small device that is easily cleaned; no tubes or face masks that are needed with a CPAP machine. The oral appliance is also easy to travel with and can be adjusted to fit future dental treatment. It is important that you have a dentist fabricate any oral appliances for you so that any bite changes or joint problems can be managed and side effects can be minimized.
Our office has done extensive training in fabricating oral appliances and can help you pick the device design that will most effectively treat your unique situation. We also work with your medical insurance so that you can use your benefits and decrease your financial investment.
If you suspect you may have sleep apnea or are having troubles with tolerating your CPAP, please call us at (517) 485-1900 to schedule a free consult today!