Sleep apnea is a serious health condition in which your breathing periodically stops while you sleep. The scariest part is that you might not even know you have it. Our team at Felton Dental Care, your premier general and cosmetic dentistry practice in the Missoula, Montana area, is very astute about this very common problem. We are here if you have any questions that you need answered, especially as it relates to your dental needs.
The bottom line is that sleep apnea is a serious condition, especially when it is undiagnosed. Undiagnosed sleep apnea is directly tied to an increased risk in cardiovascular and metabolic health. Sleep apnea occurs when upper airway muscles relax during sleep and pinch off the airway, which prevents you from getting enough air. Your breathing may pause for 10 seconds at a time, (or in some cases longer) until your reflexes kick in and you start breathing again.
Suspect you might have sleep apnea? Here are some common symptoms that may help you determine if you need to go see your medical doctor.
Excessive Daytime Sleepiness
Episodes of Not Breathing
Don’t misunderstand, having one or a few of these symptoms is typically fine. But if you have more than one, you might want to schedule an appointment with your doctor.
There are three different types of sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea describes a condition where your throat muscles relax. Central sleep apnea, which occurs when your brain doesn’t send proper signals to control your breathing. Obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA, is seen in all age groups, but the risk for it tends to increase with age and obesity. OSA symptoms include snoring and daytime sleepiness. Weight loss, sleeping on one’s side, and decreasing your level of alcohol consumption can help. The delivery of pressure via a face or nasal mask (CPAP) is often prescribed. Other common treatments include an oral device and surgery.
The final type is called complex sleep apnea syndrome. This form is present when a patient has both of the other two types. If you are diagnosed as having Obstructive Sleep Apnea, make sure you research all treatment options. Some types of sleep apnea can be treated with a dental appliance. Treatment can ease your symptoms and help prevent heart problems and other issues.
Again, our team at Felton Dental Care, your premier general and cosmetic dentistry practice in the Missoula, Montana area, is knowledgeable about sleep apnea, especially as it relates to available dental treatments. We are available if you have any questions that you need answered, especially as it relates to your dental needs. Call our office today for an appointment and consultation.