Do you think you might have sleep apnea? If so, it’s important to see your doctor right away. Sleep apnea is a serious problem in Phoenix and across the nation. If left untreated, it can be life-threatening.
Does your bed partner tell you that you frequently stop breathing during the night? What if you sleep alone? Here are some signs that you may have sleep apnea:
- Loud snoring
- Abrupt awakenings
- Difficulty staying asleep
- Frequently being tired during the day
- Waking with a dry mouth
- Headaches, especially right after waking
- Difficulty concentrating
Recurring cessations in breathing during sleep robs the brain of oxygen. When the brain is not getting enough oxygen, the heart slows down. When the person resumes breathing, the heart goes into panic mode to push the oxygen to the brain. Then the cycle repeats itself many times an hour each and every night. This stop-and-start action is dangerous for every organ in the body.
CPAP (Positive Airway Pressure) may be the most well-known treatment for sleep apnea. Many people don’t know that there are other ways to treat it.
Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT) conducted by a dentist can be an effective treatment for obstructive sleep apnea.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) has approved OAT in the following circumstances:
- As a first-line treatment for people with mild to moderate OSA
- As a first-line treatment for patients with severe OSA who are unable to use CPAP devices
- As a combination therapy (using CPAP and an oral appliance together)
A custom-fit oral appliance allows patients to breath normally while sleeping. A diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea must be made by a medical doctor. If the physician recommends oral appliance therapy, he or she will refer the patient to a dentist who is trained in treating sleep disorders.
The advantages of an oral appliance over a CPAP machine include:
- More convenient
- More comfortable
- Requires no electricity
- Easy to clean
- May allow wearer to talk and eat during use
If you have been suffering from untreated obstructive sleep apnea, OAT can restore your health. The team at Harris Dental encourages you to see an MD soon before your health is compromised. For more information about sleep apnea, call Harris Dental to schedule a consultation.