Sleep apnea is a leading sleep disorder. It involves inadvertent temporal halts in breathing during your sleep. If not treated, it can lead to profound health benefits such as heart disease and high blood pressure.
It is characterized by loud snoring, daytime tiredness, dizziness during the daytime, and morning headaches, among others.
There are two types of sleep apnea. The first type is obstructive sleep apnea. In obstructive sleep apnea, the airway collapses, which causes sudden stops in your breathing cycle.
The second type is central sleep apnea, which involves improper coordination between the brain cells and the muscles responsible for breathing.
Luckily, dentists can treat sleep apnea. If you experience sleep apnea symptoms, visit Westwood Dental Group for sleep apnea treatment.
During the consultation, the dentist will assess your condition and come up with the best treatment option. Treatment ranges from home remedies for mild symptoms and clinical treatment for severe cases.
Symptoms may include:
Due to the closeness of symptoms to other conditions, the dentist will need to determine that you do in fact have sleep apnea. The dentist may do so by referring you to a sleep specialist for a detailed sleep evaluation.
The sleep specialist may conduct a polysomnogram (PSG) in a sleep laboratory. The test monitors brain activity, heart rate, muscle movement, eye movements, blood oxygen levels, and breathing patterns during sleep.
In some cases, particularly adults, a home sleep test is issued. It’s a modified version of PSG usually conducted at home.
Since sleep apnea is prevalent among those overweight. Weight loss reduces the number of apneic episodes you experience while sleeping.
Some sleep positions increase the risk of sleep apnea. For instance, sleeping on your back increases the chances of your airway muscles collapsing, thus leading to sleep apnea. You can therefore minimize the apneic attacks by switching your sleeping position.
Both alcoholic drinks and sleeping pills increase the chances of your airway collapsing. They also increase the periods of sleep apnea attacks. Smoking should also be avoided.
You should engage in regular exercises to boost your energy levels, improve sleep apnea and strengthen your heart. Exercises such as yoga and cardio both strengthen the respiratory system.
A humidifier is a gadget that adds moisture to the air inside a room. A humidifier ensures you don’t breathe dry air, which irritates the body and the respiratory system. You can add lavender or eucalyptus oil for extra benefits.
The CPAP machine is the most popular and is very effective in treating sleep apnea. The machines are also highly reliable. The machine pushes a steady stream of fresh air into your nose via a special mask. The constant stream of fresh air helps keep the airway open.
The adaptor servo-ventilation machine adapts to your breathing cycle and adjusts the amount of airflow.
In some cases, the dentist recommends oral appliances such as Mandibular advancement devices (MAD). Most oral appliances are designed to bring the jaw forward, thus opening the airway.
Other instruments hold the tongue in place to prevent the muscles supporting the airway from collapsing. Even though most oral appliances are custom-made by dentists, you can find some over the counter.
When all other techniques fail to work and your sleep apnea is severe enough, the dentists will suggest surgery as a last resort. Although there are several types of surgeries to treat sleep apnea, uvulopalatopharyngoplasty is the most common one.
It entails removing the soft tissue behind the palate. In some cases, the tonsils may be removed in the process. Other surgeries for sleep apnea treatment include nose and jawbone. A dental surgeon would conduct all the surgeries.
Sleep apnea has a high prevalence among the adult population, and due to its devastating consequences, it is advised that you visit a local dentist as soon as you start experiencing any symptoms.