Despite the fact that sleep apnea is a major stressor of the body and is linked to diseases such as depression, diabetes and high blood pressure, it’s the snoring that gets people into our office for diagnosis and treatment. Nobody likes to listen to snoring in the middle of the night and it’s that irritation that gets people motivated. But once a person starts to learn about the dangers of sleep apnea, they quickly become motivated to treat it.
When the airway becomes obstructed, the only way to get air is to struggle with snoring. A snorer’s sleep is not restful, which takes its toll on the body. This shows up in many ways. Sleep apnea sufferers spend most of their days with low energy, which affects their performance at work. The effects of being unrested contribute to hypertension and other systemic problems.
We treat sleep apnea because it is an airway issue. As a dentist, I am right there working in a patient’s mouth. I see the airway and can be the first to help. When patient identifies himself or herself as a snorer, we recommend a sleep test to start. A sleep test determines if the patient has sleep apnea and the type of sleep apnea. With this information and diagnosis in hand, we can determine the best way to treat the sleep apnea.
Treatments may include the CPAP machine that many sleep apnea suffers struggle to use with comfort. In my treatment, I create an orthotic that the patient can put in their mouth while sleeping. This orthotic helps maintain the airway, leading to clear breathing and restful sleep. Sometimes the orthotic and the CPAP are both required to fully treat the sleep apnea but many of my patients just need the orthotic to get back to restful nights sleep… and quiet ones.
Do you have more questions about sleep apnea that I didn’t address in this blog? Please don’t hesitate to reach out at: 858-866-9692.