Sleep apnea is a serious medical condition in which breathing stops for several seconds at inconsistent intervals while you are sleeping. With central sleep apnea, this is caused by miscommunication between your brain and your breathing muscles. This condition often requires medical devices such as CPAP machines that provide a continuous flow of oxygen while you are sleeping. Tarrytown sleep apnea dentists can assist you in treating your symptoms.
Obstructive sleep apnea is caused when your airways are blocked by overly relaxed muscles in your mouth and throat. CPAP machines are often unnecessary for the treatment of this more common form.
Treating obstructive sleep apnea may require little more than a customized orthotic device that is worn while you are sleeping. Dr. Wanda Mejia and Dr. George Sepiashvili can work with your sleep doctor to determine if this solution would be effective for you.
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
Symptoms may include:
- Choking or gasping for air during sleep
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Frequent morning headaches
- Waking with a dry mouth or sore throat
Left untreated, it begin to produce symptoms such as:
- Memory or concentration problems
- Mood changes or personality disorders
It may also be a risk factor in the development of medical conditions including hypertension, heart disease, and insulin resistance. In extreme cases it may even result in death. If you suffer any of the symptoms, our sleep dentists can refer you to a local sleep specialist to diagnose the disorder and help prevent these serious complications.
Sleep Apnea Risk Factors
While sleep apnea can affect anyone, certain lifestyle choices and genetic factors can place you at a higher risk. You may have a higher risk if you:
- Drink excessively
- Use narcotics (both prescription and illicit)
- Are obese
- Have a sedentary lifestyle
- Have a thick neck
- Narrow airway
- Sleep on your back
You might identify some of these risk factors easily at home. However, your dentist or doctor may diagnose others.
Sleep Apnea Treatment Options
There are many different treatment options for this condition. Here are some potential treatments that we will discuss with you. Then we can discuss which treatment is best for you.
Some lifestyle changes can make a big difference. Lifestyle changes may be sufficient for treatment of mild sleep apnea and are appropriate as a complement to any other treatment option.
Lifestyle changes that can make a big difference include:
- Quitting smoking
- Reducing alcohol consumption
- Getting more exercise
- Losing weight
- Changing your sleeping position
With mild sleep apnea, you might see your symptoms vanish completely.
Oral Appliance Therapy
Oral appliance therapy is appropriate for people with mild to moderate sleep apnea or those with severe cases who can’t tolerate CPAP.
This treatment works by repositioning your jaw, which helps hold open your airway at night. You just put the mouthguard in at night and it can keep your airway from collapsing. In addition, it can help address teeth grinding and clenching as well as overnight jaw pain. Your insurance will typically cover the cost of your oral appliance.
CPAP, continuous positive airway pressure, is considered the gold standard sleep apnea treatment because it is very effective. In this treatment, the patient wears a mask attached to a hose and a pump, which forces air into your nose, mouth, and throat. This keeps the airway open and ensures you can breathe normally.
The only problem with CPAP is that many people don’t like and can’t tolerate this treatment.
Sleep Apnea Surgery
Surgery is considered a last resort. People with the condition have increased risk from surgery, and it has a relatively low success rate. Even if results are initially successful, sleep apnea can return.
Even so, some people are considered good candidates for sleep apnea surgery.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of sleep apnea, please contact Advanced Dentistry of Tarrytown today to schedule a consultation with Tarrytown dentist Dr. Mejia. We are pleased to help people in the Tarrytown, New York area find the best solution for restoring a restful night’s sleep.