What is Sleep Apnea?
When the muscles that control the upper airway relax, some people begin to snore. When the airway becomes completely blocked and the person temporarily stops breathing, this is an episode of "obstructive apnea." Each apnea event may last for a few seconds or up to a couple minutes or more. Events may happen frequently - even several hundred times a night.
Common Signs of Sleep Apnea
- Has your partner noticed that you stop breathing or gasp while you sleep?
- Wake up feeling unrefreshed
- Sometimes feel excessively sleepy during the day
- Decreased energy and motivation levels
- Difficulty concentrating
If you answer yes to any of these questions you may be at greater risk for
- Are you overweight?
- Are you a heavy snorer?
- Does anyone else in your family have a history of snoring and sleep apnea?
Did you know that sleep apnea is associated with serious health conditions?
- Do you have high blood pressure?
- Have you had a stroke or heart attack/disease?
Snoring and obstructive sleep apnea can be serious medical problems. Improperly treated obstructive sleep apnea can increase the risk for heart attack, stroke, diabetes and other serious illnesses. Choosing a sleep-disorders dentist who is qualified to work with your physician is essential to your health or the health of a loved one.
The dentist you choose to treat your problem with sleep disordered breathing must be properly educated and with adequate experience. Legally, any dentist can treat snoring and/or sleep apnea with an oral appliance, however, that does not mean that every dentist has the necessary experience and training to provide proper therapy. Because no special qualifications are required it is your responsibility to choose your dentist wisely. A qualified sleep-disorders dentist should have:
- Appropriate knowledge of sleep medicine
- Adequate training in oral appliance therapy
- Experience with many different appliance types
- Solid relationships with local sleep labs and sleep physicians
- Current knowledge of emerging trends
- Ability to derive maximum insurance benefits for you
- A team approach with other professionals
- A proven follow-up system to ensure healthy results long-term
- In-depth knowledge of oral appliance research
Obstructive sleep apnea is a serious medical problem that has been associated with cardiac problems, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, ED, gastro-esophageal reflux disease, and numerous other medical problems. Neither snoring nor sleep apnea should be taken lightly, as your health is at stake. Recent research is beginning to explore the complex interrelationships between sleep apnea and these other medical problems. Management by a dentist should always involve interaction with your family physician, cardiologist, pulmonologist and/or endocrinologist.
Contact our office to schedule a sleep apnea treatment consultation.