Have you been feeling listless during the day even when you’ve gotten plenty of sleep? People who suffer from sleep apnea aren’t able to breathe properly during the night, meaning they don’t get the oxygen – or the quality sleep – that their bodies need to operate properly. The good news is that with a simple non-invasive treatment, Dr. Song can help you feel refreshed and well-rested once again. Call Bridlewood Dental today to ask about sleep apnea therapy in Flower Mound, TX.
There are two main kinds of sleep apnea: obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea. You develop obstructive sleep apnea when your airway becomes blocked by your tongue or fatty tissue in the back of the throat, preventing you from breathing normally. Obesity is a common risk factor for this disorder. On the other hand, if you have central sleep apnea, your breathing is being stopped because the brain isn’t sending the correct signals to the appropriate muscles.
The long-term complications of sleep apnea can be extremely dangerous, especially if the disorder is left completely untreated. Some of the health issues that you might end up suffering from include:
There’s a difference between sleep apnea and other disorders such as insomnia, narcolepsy, restless leg syndrome, and jet lag. Furthermore, snoring and other symptoms associated with sleep apnea can have other causes. To make sure you receive the right kind of treatment, your condition will have to be accurately diagnosed first. This is normally done by way of a sleep study that can be performed at a lab or at home. When you go to bed, you’ll be hooked up to a special device to monitor your heart rate, blood oxygen level, airflow, and breathing patterns. Some tests might also examine brain activity as well as arm and leg movements. If the signs of obstructive sleep apnea are found, you can return to our dental office to explore the available treatment options. However, if you’re suffering from a different kind of disorder, you’ll need to seek the help of a sleep specialist.
The treatments that we offer are specifically designed to treat obstructive sleep apnea – in other words, sleep apnea that was caused by some type of physical blockage. We generally recommend that our patients use oral appliances as a convenient and non-invasive treatment option that serves as a quieter and more discrete alternative to a CPAP machine. For more complex or severe cases, we can combine an oral appliance with CPAP for a more comfortable experience.
Each oral appliance is customized to meet the patients needs. You can expect your own appliance to fit snugly and securely over your teeth. That way you can simply slip it on when it’s time to go to bed and be confident that it will remain in place.
The goal of oral appliance therapy is to keep the airway as open as possible. To do so, the device will hold your lower jaw in a forward position, stopping the tongue from collapsing at night.
Compared to CPAP therapy – a treatment that relies on a bulky, noisy machine and a mask – oral appliances are much easier to use. It might take a few weeks to completely adjust, but you’ll avoid the sound of a CPAP machine that could keep you up at night. Furthermore, when you must travel, you can simply slip your oral appliance into a purse or a carry-on bag.
Oral appliances work best on mild cases of obstructive sleep apnea. However, some disorders are more effectively treated by a CPAP machine that forces air down the throat throughout the night. Unfortunately, nearly half of CPAP patients will stop complying with the treatment within a year because the device is too uncomfortable and makes it harder to fall asleep (which naturally defeats the purpose of undergoing the therapy in the first place). Combined therapy is meant to allow you to enjoy the benefits of CPAP therapy along with the comfort and ease of an oral appliance.
Instead of a full face mask, the CPAP machine will be attached to a much less restrictive nasal mask. Also, the device can be kept at a lower setting thanks to the oral appliance holding the jaw forward. These advantages could make the difference that finally allows you to enjoy a deep and healthy sleep.
Sometimes simply making the right choices at home can be an effective remedy for sleep apnea. Be sure to give us as much information about your lifestyle as possible while we’re developing your treatment plan; we can advise you on some changes to make to your everyday routine that might help. For instance, we might suggest:
Everyone deserves a good night’s sleep, and you’ll always want to improve the quality of your rest sooner instead of later. As soon as you learn that you snore at night or realize that you aren’t feeling as energetic as you used to, get in touch with us! We can point you in the right direction for testing and, once you’ve been diagnosed, discuss your health challenges and make recommendations, whether that means prescribing oral appliance therapy or referring you to another specialist.