Have you been diagnosed with sleep apnea? Do you think you may have sleep apnea? Do you snore at night? If the answer is yes to any of these, there are treatments that can benefit you. At Matthew Nawrocki DMD, MS, we are committed to educating Orange Park, FL residents about oral health. Even though the negative effects of having sleep apnea do not manifest themselves in the oral cavity, your dentist may be the best answer to your sleep apnea and snoring. If you would like more information, feel free to read further. Additional information can be found by visiting the American Sleep Apnea Association.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is defined by periods of cessation of breathing during sleep. Sleep apnea comes in two major forms; obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea. Central sleep apnea treatment deals with the central nervous system. The more common version of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when there is an obstruction of the airway during sleep causing breathing to stop. OSA can be caused by several different factors including an enlarged tongue, enlargements in the oral cavity, and a thick neck.
What are the Problems Associated with Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea has the potential to cause extremely dangerous problems. When breathing stops for periods of time, the body is not receiving the adequate oxygen supply. As a result the heart has to work extra hard to keep up. What ensues is essentially an enlarged heart. People who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea are at an increased risk for heart troubles, stroke, and motor vehicle accidents.
What are the Symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Symptoms of sleep apnea include but are not limited to:
- Morning and daytime fatigue due to the lack of proper sleep
- Snoring (often reported by one’s bed partner)
- Sore throat or dry mouth upon waking
- Feeling of lack of sleep upon waking
- Waking periodically with the feeling of gasping for breath
- Difficulty staying asleep
- Difficulty concentrating during the daytime hours
How Can the Dentist Treat Sleep Apnea?
The gold standard of sleep apnea treatment is the CPAP. The CPAP is worn like a mask during sleep and forces air into the airway so breathing is mandatory. Users of the CPAP very often complain that the machine is so uncomfortable that they refuse to wear it. The CPAP user compliance is low and the result is that so many Americans have untreated sleep apnea.
Recently the dentist has become one of the major sources of treatment for OSA. The dental device for sleep apnea is essentially a oral appliance that is worn to protrude the lower jaw. This comfortable prosthesis gently opens the airway so that breathing is unobstructed. What results is a restful night of sleep.
Dr. Nawrocki utilizes Somnomed treatments for sleep apnea. Feel free to watch this video of Dr. Nawrocki speaking about Somnomed obstructive sleep apnea treatments.