Sleep apnea is a condition that can have profound effects on a person’s health and mental well being. This condition, when not treated, literally causes sleep deprivation. Even though obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) has profound effects, many people are surprised to learn they have it because its episodes manifest during sleep. Adding further insult to injury, OSA sufferers think they are getting rejuvenating sleep despite symptoms of malaise and fatigue. Sometimes, patients with OSA will visit their primary care physician thinking they have other health problems like depression, vitamin deficiencies and thyroid problems. Fortunately, our team at Dental Studio offers in-house sleep studies to diagnose this condition along with non-invasive treatment options.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a health condition that causes a person to stop breathing during sleep. Episodes of apnea (breathing cessation) are followed by slight wakefulness so that a person can resume breathing properly. Apnea occurs when the airways are blocked. This blockage is normally the result of excessive oral tissue in the mouth. Those with OSA can have hundreds of episodes of apnea in an eight-hour period. Sometimes, episodes of apnea can occur for up to 60 seconds.
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Side Effects and Symptoms
OSA presents many side effects but unfortunately, they can be misinterpreted as other conditions and ailments. Common side effects and symptoms of sleep apnea include:
- Dry mouth
- General feelings of fatigue and malaise
- Feeling tired/exhausted even after what seems like a full night of sleep
- Loud or obstructive snoring
- Mood issues - particularly irritability and depression
- Memory loss/inability to recall important information
- Poor work/school performance
Sleep Apnea Treatment
Since sleep apnea is hard for a person who is sleeping to detect, and its symptoms can mimic the symptoms of numerous other health conditions, it is imperative that one has a sleep study to confirm whether they have OSA. A sleep study will monitor vital signs and quality of sleep to give doctors an accurate assessment of the extent to which apnea occurs. Once a sleep study confirms OSA, a patient has a few treatment options to explore.
There is surgical treatment for some patients with OSA, but normally, non-invasive protocols are preferred. Non-invasive treatments include CPAP therapy and wearing custom oral appliances. CPAP therapy involves sleeping with a piece of machinery that emits a constant stream of air into the oral cavity. This stream of air will help prevent oral tissue from blocking breathing passageways, thus preventing episodes of apnea. Oral appliances can be used to widen the airway. This is done by having a mouthpiece custom made that is worn during sleep. These types of oral appliances will position the lower jaw forward to increase the diameter of the airway.
If you have symptoms of sleep apnea or suspect that you might have this condition, call Dental Studio today to reserve an OSA consultation. Our team is committed to helping members of our community achieve the restful sleep they deserve!
There are a few effective treatment protocols for sleep apnea - some are non-invasive and some surgical. Dental Studio provides non-invasive treatment for sleep apnea with CPAP or oral appliance therapy. CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure. Essentially, CPAP is a machine that streams air through a facial mask. This stream of air will help keep breathing passages open by preventing soft oral tissue from obstructing them.
Another treatment option involves oral appliance therapy. Oral appliance therapy helps increase the diameter of the airway by positioning the lower jawbone slightly forward. This is accomplished by a special, custom made mouthguard-like appliance that is worn during sleep. If these treatment options are ineffective, our team at Dental Studio might refer patients to an oral and maxillofacial surgeon for further treatment and evaluation. In conjunction with professional treatments, people might find relief by making lifestyle changes. Smoking cessation, limited alcohol consumption, and weight loss can help reduce episodes of sleep apnea.
The most direct and obvious advantage of treating sleep apnea is to improve one’s ability to breathe during sleep. By preventing episodes of apnea, however, a person will see numerous advantages to treatment over time. First, the quality of one’s rest will improve. When people can finally achieve the proper rest they require, the effects of sleep deprivation will subside. Sleep deprivation from sleep apnea can lead to depressed mood, irritability, constant malaise, and memory issues.
Treating sleep apnea also alleviates other unpleasant side effects associated with the condition. Many patients who have sleep apnea suffer with headaches - especially in the morning along with dry mouth. A wealth of research also suggests that untreated sleep apnea can weaken the cardiovascular system and negatively affect the pulmonary system. By treating sleep apnea, its immediate side effects are mitigated and any unknown repercussions associated with the disease can be thwarted.