Sleep apnea is a condition in which the body's natural breathing mechanisms are interrupted during sleep. This causes people who suffer from sleep apnea to awake numerous times during the night, which leads to chronic sleep deprivation as well as greater and even more problematic health problems.
Many Rochester-area residents may be among the roughly 20 million Americans who suffer from sleep apnea,and may choose to treat the condition by wearing a type of ventilator while they sleep known as a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, CPAP.
But the CPAP is not comfortable or feasible for all sleep apnea suffers. That's why our dentists feel strongly about educating the public regarding sleep apnea signs to watch for as well as the availability of alternative sleep apnea treatments.
How Do You Know if You Suffer From Sleep Apnea?
Before considering the breadth of sleep apnea symptoms, it's important to understand the different ways in which this condition may manifest.
Sleep apnea sufferers generally experience one of the following three varieties of the condition:
- Obstructive sleep apnea happens when the throat muscles relax so excessively that they partially or completely block the airway. This is the most common diagnosis among the three types of sleep apnea.
- Central sleep apnea means the victim's brain fails to effectively communicate with the throat and craniofacial muscles; impaired breathing is the result.
- Complex sleep apnea syndrome is a mixture of both types.
There also are conditions that may signal the emergence of sleep apnea. These other common sleep apnea symptoms include:
- Loud, consistent snoring
- Frequently awaking during the night
- Waking to the feeling of breathlessness, and the sensation that air is stuck in one’s throat
- Chronic dry mouth
- Frequent headaches
- Chronic sleepiness during waking hours
- Attention deficient
- Marked moodiness or irritability
These symptoms alone can make life difficult. Even more disturbing is the fact that sleep apnea, when left untreated, can contribute to the emergence of such life-threatening afflictions as heart disease and diabetes.
How Do Our Dentists Treat Sleep Apnea?
Cosmetic and restorative dentists are uniquely suited to help treat sleep apnea because the condition involves the craniofacial muscles and systems with which these doctors are so familiar. Not only can our dentists help diagnose sleep apnea, they also can help patients secure and become accustomed to a tailor-made dental appliance that facilitates breathing and subsequently enables the restorative rest that sleep apnea sufferers so desperately require.
The MicrO2® dental appliance is custom-fitted for you and manages to position the jaw in such a way that establishes an open, clear airway during sleep. Our dentists prefer the MicrO2® because this device is customized for each patient, and because wearers report that it is both comfortable and easy to wear.
If you live in or around Rochester, Webster, Greece or Fairport and are ready to talk with an experienced dentist about whether our unique sleep apnea treatment might be right for you, please dial 585-227-4390 to schedule your appointment with the experienced dentists at the Center for Cosmetic & General Dentistry.