Sleep apnea is a serious disorder in which individuals stop breathing for several minutes at a time during the night. As a result, the body does not receive the oxygen it requires for healthy function. Unfortunately, this can ultimately lead to concerning health issues, such as heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure, among other things. Finding a solution is crucial for an improved quality of life and better overall health. At National Dental Melville, our team can help diagnose and treat sleep apnea so patients can finally enjoy a restful night.
What Happens during Sleep Apnea?
There are two primary categories of this sleep disorder: central and obstructive. Central sleep apnea is produced by a miscommunication between the brain and the muscles that aid in breathing. The most common type, however, is called obstructive sleep apnea. This condition is triggered by a blockage of the airway, caused by the collapse of the soft tissues near the back of the throat. When the muscles in the area become too relaxed, they can fall over the airway and restrict breathing.
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
Some symptoms of sleep apnea are more obvious than others. For example, some patients snore loudly or gasp for air – signs that warn their partners that something isn’t right. Others may experience chronic fatigue or have difficulty concentrating during the day – these symptoms are a bit subtler. You should consider seeking professional care if you:
- Consistently wake up with a sore throat
- Have a hoarse voice or a dry throat upon waking
- Become tired while driving
- Sleep restlessly or experience insomnia
- Have mood swings or feel irritable
Exploring Risk Factors
There are several genetic factors to consider regarding sleep apnea. For example, those who have a family history of the disorder are far more likely to develop it themselves. Additionally, those with congenital abnormalities – such as a deviated septum, enlarged tonsils, or a large tongue – are more prone to the condition. However, there are a few environmental risk factors that, if addressed, could potentially reduce the symptoms of sleep apnea. For instance, one of the leading causes of obstructive sleep apnea is obesity. If this is the sole contributing factor, then losing weight could correct the problem. In other cases, excessive alcohol consumption can over-relax the throat muscles, causing the tissues to block the airway. Once alcohol intake is reduced or eliminated, the sleep apnea symptoms may disappear.
What Sets Us Apart?
At National Dental Melville, we pride ourselves in providing all specialty services under one roof. We have an onsite sleep medicine specialist who can help determine the exact cause of your condition. In some cases, a sleep study is necessary to obtain an accurate diagnosis. If you are diagnosed with sleep apnea, we will begin exploring your treatment options.
Oral Appliance Therapy
Through the years, there have been several treatments for sleep apnea. Unfortunately, one of the most common – a CPAP device – is too uncomfortable for many patients to wear. Fortunately, a number of patients at National Dental have found success through the use of a custom oral appliance. This small device fits snugly over the upper teeth and keeps the jaw in a slightly forward position, opening the airway. >> Learn more about oral appliance therapy and how it can work for you!
Learn More about Sleep Apnea Treatment
If you are suffering from sleep apnea, a custom oral appliance could be all you need to take back your life. To learn more, contact us online or call us at (516) 208-4276.