Obstructive sleep apnea accounts for over 80% of sleep-related breathing disorders. The condition is very common and is characterized by the cessation of breathing while sleeping. At Metropolitan Dental Specialty Group, we offer treatment options for people diagnosed with sleep apnea.
What Happens If You Have Sleep Apnea?
A person suffering from sleep apnea may experience their breathing stopping intermittently while they are sleeping. This is due to the throat muscles relaxing and blocking the airway while you are asleep. The blockage typically lasts between 10 to 30 seconds, though it can extend to 60 seconds or even more. When the oxygen level in your blood decreases, the brain sends a signal to wake you up and resume breathing. In many cases, the waking period is so short that you may not even remember it. In severe cases, a person may experience hundreds of apneas every night.
Some of the common symptoms of sleep apnea include choking or gasping while asleep, loud snoring, daytime sleepiness, fatigue, headache, dry mouth on awakening, lack of concentration, and irritability. Sleep apnea can be quite dangerous because it can affect your daily activities, including driving. Additionally, it is associated with other health problems like high blood pressure, diabetes, chronic acid reflex and erectile dysfunction.
What is the Treatment for Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
If you have been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, there are various treatment options that your doctor and your doctor can recommend you. These include:
Changes to LifestyleSome patients are at a high-risk of sleep apnea, including those who are obese, excessively consume alcohol or do recreational drugs. Doing exercises to lose weight and quitting these bad habits can help alleviate the condition.
Changes to Sleeping PositionSome patients may trigger sleep apnea if they sleep in a supine position. Therefore, we may recommend sleeping on one side with your head elevated slightly with pillows. This can prevent your throat from sagging down, stabilize your breathing and can reduce the frequency and severity of obstructive sleep apnea.
CPAP TherapyA CPAP is a breathing apparatus equipped with a mask, which improves breathing while you are asleep. The device provides a constant stream of air to your nasal passage, which prevents the throat from collapsing and keeps the airways open. We may recommend you CPAP devices in case of moderate sleep apnea.
Oral AppliancesThere are several different types of oral appliances available in the market but they are usually categorized into two types: mandibular repositioning devices and tongue retaining devices. Both these devices are custom-fitted to a patient’s mouth to prevent the collapse and blockage of the airways. We may advise patients to wear oral appliances overnight if they suffer from sleep apnea.
Surgical OptionsIf these therapeutic treatments do not work, we may recommend surgical options for you. Depending on the nature and location of the obstruction, removal of tonsil, or parts of palate and throat may be advised. However, these surgeries can have various side effects, so these are only considered as a last resort and you need to be aware of all the benefits and risks before you say yes to them. If you suspect you have sleep apnea, we recommend you make a consultation appointment with us at (301) 585-0400. We will determine the cause and extent of your sleep apnea and will recommend a good treatment option for you.