It is estimated that sleep apnea affects over 22 million Americans. It is also estimated that many cases of sleep apnea go undiagnosed. Sleep apnea is a serious condition that can have devastating effects. Professional treatment is essential.
If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, Advanced Dental Associates can help. We treat sleep disorders and provide additional restorative dental care options to new and existing patients.
What Makes Sleep Apnea Dangerous?
When you have sleep apnea, you stop breathing while you sleep. In most cases, this occurs because your tongue or other soft tissues fall into the airway, blocking it. With sleep apnea, this doesn’t happen just once. It can occur numerous times during the night.
Every time your airway becomes blocked, your brain has to wake your body up so that you can begin breathing again. These episodes, called apneic events, disrupt your sleep, even though you most likely don’t know it.
The constant disruptions in your sleep leave you feeling incredibly exhausted. That’s not all, though. Untreated sleep apnea can have serious health consequences.
The lack of oxygen can result in low blood-oxygen levels; your risk for health concerns, such as heart disease and diabetes, increases. You are also at a much greater chance of suffering from depression.
Who Gets Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea can affect anyone, adults and children alike. Some individuals are at an increased risk, however. One of the most significant risk factors for sleep apnea, particularly obstructive sleep apnea, is being overweight or obese.
Other risk factors include your sex, your age, having large tonsils, having a small lower jaw, or drinking a large amount of alcohol, particularly at bedtime.
How Do I Know If I Have Sleep Apnea?
There are a few indications that can point toward sleep apnea. These include feeling excessively tired, waking up with a headache, having a sore throat when you wake up, falling asleep during the day, or feeling irritable. The only way to know for sure that you have sleep apnea, though, is with a sleep study.
This test is generally performed at a clinic, although modified sleep tests can be done at home. The test measures different things, including your breathing, your blood pressure, and muscle movements.
This information is recorded and then read by a certified sleep specialist. Once a diagnosis is made, treatment can be recommended.
Sleep Apnea Treatment in San Antonio, TX
There are many treatments for sleep apnea. For mild cases, lifestyle changes, such as weight loss or quitting alcohol, can help. One of the most commonly recommended treatments is a C-PAP machine. However, what can we do for you?
Another standard treatment for mild to moderate sleep apnea is called an oral appliance. This is a device that you wear while you sleep. The goal of the treatment is to hold your lower jaw forward. Doing so keeps the soft tissues in your mouth from falling into your airway and blocking it.
In cases of severe sleep apnea, oral surgery may be necessary. Surgical procedures include moving the jaw forward, advancing the hyoid bone, or removing excess tissue. If you have found all other solutions for sleep apnea unsuccessful, we can help to determine whether oral surgery is a good option.
Oral Appliance Therapy
With several treatment selections for obstructive sleep apnea, oral appliance therapy is one of the more valuable options with its high patient adherence due to ease of use. Our dental sleep medicine specialist at Advanced Dental Associates can help you determine the best therapy to improve your sleep and overall quality of life.
Is Oral Appliance Therapy For Me?
An oral appliance is one of the most common therapies for treating obstructive sleep apnea. Oral Appliance has become increasingly popular because of its ease of use and portability. Though Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) is perhaps thought to be more efficient in providing immediate results, patients seem to be more inclined to adhere to Oral Appliance Therapy.
An oral appliance is a device that looks like a mouthguard or a dental retainer—only it is worn during sleep. In obstructive sleep apnea, the back of the throat collapses during sleep, preventing airflow to the lungs. The oral appliance (OA) prevents the blocking of the airway.
For instance, the oral appliance Mandibular Repositioning Device keeps the airway open by lowering the jaw. In contrast, another type of oral appliance, the Tongue Retainer, holds the tongue in place to prevent it from blocking the throat.
An oral appliance is comfortable, convenient, quiet, portable, and low maintenance. For these reasons, patients are more likely to comply with the therapy than others, such as Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, which causes several patient issues due to its size and noise.
Can I Wear an Oral Appliance?
However, not everyone can use an oral appliance. An OA has limitations and is usually prescribed to patients with mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea.
The effects of OA also depend on factors like sleeping position and body weight. The OA may be less effective than the CPAP machine, the standard gold treatment for moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea.
What to Expect When Wearing an Oral Appliance
Possible side effects of using an oral appliance are dry mouth or excessive salivation. Patients could also experience tooth or jaw pain. Bite change is also possible.
Close communication with us will be vital for us to manage side effects as you experience them. It is important to note that complications, such as a permanent change to your bite or TMJ-like symptoms, should be reported to us immediately.
Care for your oral appliance is expected. You should maintain good dental hygiene before putting on the dental appliance each night and carefully follow our instructions for OA care and cleaning.
You should expect that an oral appliance will change your life. Obstructive sleep apnea could be debilitating because limited sleep can affect your energy levels and mood.
When your oral appliance can manage your sleep apnea, you will notice a significant change to your health and general disposition from finally achieving restful sleep. Lastly, oral appliances should be custom-fit. Over-the-counter oral appliances are not recommended for sleep apnea.
Treat Sleep Apnea Today
If you suspect you might have sleep apnea, it is essential to have the appropriate testing done as soon as possible. For more information on how we can help treat sleep apnea, call Advanced Dental Associates at 210-361-6847 today.