If you’ve been told you’re a loud snorer or you frequently awaken feeling tire and lethargic, then you may be suffering from sleep apnea. You’re not alone, though, as over 22 million Americans are currently living with the condition. To make matters worse, many of the cases go undiagnosed. Thankfully, when you visit us at Cornerstone Family Dental, either Dr. Crofoot or Dr. Snarr can help you recover so you can finally get the quality sleep you’ve been missing.
For people who suffer from sleep apnea, there are momentary lapses in breathing that can happen up to a hundred times while they sleep. The most common form of the condition is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which refers to a partial blockage of the airway that inhibits the flow of oxygen. This can be caused by weight gain that adds extra girth in the neck area, the tongue falling to the back of the mouth, excessive consumption of alcohol or other contributing factors.
As a result of the pause in breathing, the brain sends a distress signal that causes a stir. While this is an awesome built-in safety mechanism, it leaves you feeling unrefreshed the next day and devoid of the benefits that typically come from a night of sleep.
If you suspect you’re suffering from sleep apnea, then you should bring it to your primary care physician’s attention so you can undergo a sleep test. We’ll then review your results and work with you to formulate an adequate treatment protocol.
Sleep apnea can strike people of any age, as the condition is becoming more prevalent even among children. The populations with the highest risk factor of developing the condition, though, are men and women over the age of 40. As mentioned above, variables like weight gain and increased neck girth can play a significant role in limiting airflow. There are several lifestyle practices that impact your sleep, which include the usage of electronic devices before retiring for bed, eating late and enduring heightened stress.
There are several possible warning signs of sleep apnea that may go unnoticed for a lack of knowledge. So you won’t miss out on receiving the vital care you need, here are some of the more common symptoms to be cognizant of:
The most typical form of sleep apnea therapy is the CPAP machine, which includes three parts: a base unit, tube and mask. They work in tandem to force air into your throat while you sleep to prevent any lapses in breathing and to also allow for uninterrupted rest. While this is an effective form of therapy, it poses some challenges.
Many patients aren’t fond of the sound the unit makes while operating and its cumbersome design. At Cornerstone Family Dental, we offer an alternative that is quiet, small and more convenient: an oral appliance. Instead of forcing air into your throat, the comfortable custom-designed appliance gently repositions your jaw to allow for better oxygen flow.
Therefore, your recovery from sleep apnea can be smooth and comfortable. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Crofoot or Dr. Snarr, contact our office today!
Think you might have sleep apnea? You’re not alone. As someone who is looking for help, our team at Cornerstone Dental is here to help. Let us answer your questions, address your concerns, and help you get the care you need to start embracing a better quality of life. Below you will find multiple common questions pertaining to sleep apnea. If you need additional assistance, please do not hesitate to contact our office to schedule an appointment.
Apart from the inability to sleep and breathe throughout the night, sleep apnea is capable of wreaking havoc on the rest of your body. Because of the chronic fatigue and frequent rise and fall of your heart rate and blood pressure when attempting to wake and breathe while asleep, you can suffer from cardiovascular problems that lead to a heart attack, high blood pressure, stroke, arrhythmia, diabetes, and even heart failure.
Snoring is most commonly associated with a sleep disorder; however, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have sleep apnea. The same can be said if you are diagnosed with sleep apnea, you may not snore. The truth is that snoring can be the result of your age, weight, medications you may be taking, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and even sinus problems. If it appears that you do not struggle to breathe while asleep, it is safe to assume you simply have a snoring problem, but if you wake suddenly gasping or choking for air, it’s time to be tested for sleep apnea.
You will be pleased to know that if you are recommended for a sleep study, it will not hurt at all. Whether you undergo a test in a sleep center or are provided a device to use at home when you go to bed, the process is completely painless and only requires you to be hooked up to the appropriate device. This will allow your physician to review the data collected throughout the night while you slept.
When seeking treatment for sleep apnea, you will not file on your dental insurance. Why? Because although you will be receiving an oral appliance, it is technically viewed as a medical device, so it must be filed under your medical insurance. At Cornerstone Dental, our team will help you navigate this process to ensure it is as seamless and stress-free as possible.
In addition to your professional oral appliance therapy receiving at our dental office, there are some changes you can make at home that will improve your symptoms. These include:
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