Do you snore when you sleep? Are there times during the night that you wake up with difficulty breathing?
You may have a sleep disorder called obstructive sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a condition that occurs when the soft tissues in the back of the mouth collapse. These tissues block the airway and make breathing hard when asleep. Sleep apnea is often a dangerous medical problem that can increase the risk of heart problems, including heart attacks, heart disease, and strokes.
Our team treats patients with mild to moderate forms of sleep apnea with oral appliance therapy in Bensalem, PA. Dr. Marc Segal is a member of our dental team who has experience in treating patients with sleep apnea. He uses comprehensive methods and works with patients to diagnose their symptoms properly and provide appropriate care.
Common Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
There are multiple signs of sleep apnea to be aware of, including:
- Breathing through the mouth
- Difficulty paying attention when awake
- Dry mouth
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Gasping for air during sleep
- Memory problems
- Weight gain
Patients who are male, over 40, overweight, or smoke are often more prone to developing sleep apnea. Please notify our office of your dental and medical history when you visit, and we can work with you to provide the right treatment for your specific needs. It can often be difficult for patients to realize they have sleep apnea, as it occurs unconsciously. However, if you or a loved one have noticed changes in your sleeping patterns or mood, let us know. We can help screen you for sleep apnea.
The Dangers of Uncontrolled Sleep Apnea
It’s wrong to assume that sleep apnea is just snoring and nothing to worry about. Untreated sleep apnea can be incredibly dangerous. When you have sleep apnea, you wake up multiple times throughout the night because you can’t breathe, whether you realize it or not.
You wake up tired even though you think you slept for a decent amount of time. You feel fatigued throughout the day and can be confused because you didn’t get enough sleep. Sleep is also crucial for memories, so you may also experience memory loss.
Sleep apnea and breathing problems often go hand in hand. Your breathing stops when you’re asleep, sometimes multiple times each night. Sleep apnea can worsen your symptoms if you already deal with adult asthma. You also have a higher risk of further complications with your asthma when you have sleep apnea. It can raise your blood pressure, leading to even further breathing complications. Because you aren’t getting enough oxygen in general, you also have low blood oxygen levels.
Heart and vascular problems are some of the most severe you experience with sleep apnea. Sleep apnea makes you more likely to have higher levels of bad cholesterol, putting you at risk for heart disease. Having sleep apnea increases your risk for other heart problems, like strokes, irregular heart rhythm, and heart failure. High blood sugar and diabetes are correlated with sleep apnea as well.
How to Treat Sleep Apnea
An oral appliance is one of the best treatments for mild to moderate forms of sleep apnea. Similar to mouthguards, oral appliances are custom-made using digital scans. We will scan the mouth for the exact dimensions of the teeth. These scans are sent to a dental lab, where the custom appliance is fabricated. Once the oral appliance is complete, we will ensure that it fits you precisely and feels natural to wear.
When compared to a CPAP machine, oral appliances are less bulky, easier to transport, and more comfortable to use. CPAP machines are a great option for patients with moderate to severe sleep apnea. However, for mild cases, oral appliances are a good alternative. Oral appliances are worn at night like a mouthguard. The appliance keeps the airway clear so that patients can breathe easily at night without disruption. Wearing a custom-made oral appliance prevents symptoms of OSA that can quickly develop into more serious medical problems.
Call Our Dental Office Today
If you have noticed sleep apnea symptoms in yourself or a loved one, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Perfect Smiles for an appointment at 215-770-1081. We also provide general dentistry services at our Bensalem, PA office. You may request a dental consultation with our dental team on our website. Please let our dental team know if you have any further questions about sleep apnea or have current symptoms. They will be happy to help you get the care you need.