Sleep apnea is an enduring sleep disorder in which the upper airway becomes constantly obstructed during sleep, reducing or completely stopping airflow. This condition, called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), results in disrupted sleep and a drop in oxygen level. If the brain does not direct the signals needed to breathe, the condition may be called central sleep apnea. At Midtown Dental Clinic, we provide effective diagnoses and treatments for sleep apnea.
What Causes Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea may be caused by obesity, tonsils, endocrine or neuromuscular disorders, heart or kidney failure, specific genetic syndromes like cleft lip or cleft palate, and premature birth.
What Are the Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?
The most regular signs of sleep apnea include obstructed breathing, loud snoring, and gasping for air during sleep. Other indicators of sleep apnea include:
- Excessive daytime sleepiness, fatigue
- Decrease in attention, vigilance, concentration
- Impaired motor skills, verbal and visual memory
- Dry mouth or headaches when waking up
- Sexual dysfunction or reduced libido
- Waking up frequently to urinate
- Depression, anxiety, insomnia, and sleep disruption
What Treatments Are Available for Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea can be addressed through either medical management or surgical correction. After a proper diagnosis, we can recommend the best treatment option that helps you to maintain an open airway during sleep. Generally, these recommendations are based on the type and severity of your sleep apnea.
Mild conditions of sleep apnea can be medically managed. We could prescribe one of the following:
Healthy Lifestyle Changes- Patients should imbibe a healthy lifestyle that includes eating a nutritious, healthy diet, restricting alcohol intake, maintaining a healthy weight, doing regular physical exercise, following proper sleeping habits, and quitting smoking.
Sleep Positioning Pillows - These are unique anti-snoring pillows that support side sleep and support the position of the head for optimum airflow.
Mouthpieces/Oral Appliances - Patients wear these mouthpieces before going to sleep. They are custom-made appliances that help keep your lower jaw and tongue in position. More specifically, they are planned to keep the lower jaw in the forward position and help alleviate the backward compression of the tongue base on the oral airway.
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Device (CPAP) - CPAP devices prevent the collapse connected with obstructive sleep apnea. Patients sleep with a mask that opens up the airway with increased pressure, and they can also utilize facial pillows to wear with the masks for additional comfort.
If you suffer from extreme obstructive sleep apnea that does not respond to medical management, you may need surgery. Fortunately, a couple of surgical procedures could be done to help you with your condition.
If you are interested in learning more about sleep apnea diagnosis and treatments, call Midtown Dental Clinic in Richland, WA, Suite 199352 at (509) 946-1678 and schedule an appointment.