Sleep Apnea Russellville, AR
Are you drowsy during the day with no explanation? Do you snore loudly or wake up breathless in the middle of the night? If so, you may be one of approximately 30 million Americans estimated by the American Medical Association to be affected by sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is a condition in which your breathing stops periodically during sleep, as many as 20-30 times per hour. Each time you stop breathing, the resulting lack of oxygen alerts your brain, which temporarily wakes you up to restart proper breathing. Since the time spent awake is so brief, most people don't remember it, and many believe they are getting a good night's sleep when, in fact, they are not. The constant wake-sleep, wake-sleep cycle prevents those with sleep apnea from achieving deep sleep, resulting in a constant drowsy feeling during the day.
When most people hear the term sleep apnea, they probably think they have to go to a sleep center or specialized medical facility in order to seek treatment. However, the solution may lie in a place you're already familiar with—your dentist's office! Not all dentists treat sleep apnea, but some dentists, like Dr. Richard Morgan DDS, PA in Russellville, AR offer custom oral appliances to help position your jaw just right while you sleep to help prevent your airway from getting obstructed. Read on to learn more about sleep apnea and oral appliance therapy or call our office today to schedule an appointment!
Common Signs of Sleep Apnea
The following symptoms can indicate the presence of sleep apnea. If you notice one or more of these, contact our practice.
- Insomnia or difficulty sleeping
- Loud snoring at night
- Waking up at night short of breath
- Snorting or choking sounds during the night (indicating a restart of breathing)
- Headaches upon waking in the morning
- Falling asleep unintentionally during the day
- Extreme drowsiness throughout the day
Is sleep apnea dangerous?
Sleep apnea is considered a serious medical problem and if left untreated it can lead to high blood pressure, increasing the risk of heart failure and stroke. The ongoing state of fatigue caused by sleep apnea can lead to problems at work or school, as well as danger when driving or operating heavy machinery. Sleep apnea can also cause complications with medication or surgery; sedation by anesthesia can be risky, as can lying flat in bed after an operation. If you know or suspect you suffer from sleep apnea, let your family doctor know before taking prescribed medication or having surgery.
Risk Factors For Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is more common in males than females, and more common in older adults (40+) than younger adults and children. However, anyone — regardless of gender or age — can suffer from sleep apnea. Other risk factors include obesity, smoking, drinking, use of sedatives or tranquilizers, and family history. Central sleep apnea strikes most often in people with heart disorders, neuromuscular disorders, strokes, or brain tumors.
Sleep Apnea Treatment From Your Russellville, AR Dentist
Treatments for sleep apnea depend on the severity of each individual case, and the type of apnea. Basic treatment can be behavioral — for instance, patients are instructed to lose weight, stop smoking, or sleep on their sides instead of on their backs. Beyond that, oral devices can be used to position the mouth in such a way that prevents throat blockage. In more severe cases, surgery may be the best option.
Oral Appliance Therapy
Oral appliance therapy is designed to treat those with mild to moderate OSA, and may actually eliminate the need for CPAP equipment or surgery. If you have severe OSA this oral appliance may also be used in conjunction with other treatments to help you manage your symptoms.
Each sleep apnea device is custom-fitted to your mouth to target and address your specific needs. Since all mouths are shaped differently, these devices cannot be one size fits all. This is why you need to turn to our qualified dentist in order to be properly fitted for your oral appliance.
How Does Oral Appliance Therapy Work For Sleep Apnea?
Repositioning the lower jaw forward while you sleep keeps the tongue away from the back of your throat, thereby reducing the possibility for an obstruction. Oral appliance therapy is the first line of treatment that we often recommend to patients with mild to moderate forms of sleep apnea, as this is a less invasive and more convenient treatment option. This can also be a great option for someone who hasn’t responded to or is not an ideal candidate for CPAP therapy.
What Are the Advantages of Wearing An Oral Appliance?
Oral appliance therapy offers a variety of benefits, including a better night’s sleep. However, what makes this an ideal treatment option for many sleep apnea sufferers is that it’s non-invasive and comfortable. Most patients find that it only takes a couple of weeks to adjust to wearing this appliance, and it’s so small that it’s easy to carry with you no matter where you go.