Can You Cure Sleep Apnea?

Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition that can be successfully managed, although not cured with non-surgical treatments. Obstructive sleep apnea is classified as a sleep-related breathing disorder, along with snoring.  Once diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, patients are usually referred to dentists for nonsurgical treatment. Here’s everything to know about obstructive sleep apnea, including how dentists help you manage the condition.

What Causes Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

Obstructive sleep apnea, as its name implies, is caused by an obstruction in the airway, when sleeping. The obstruction, in this case, is a restricted airway.  The airway may be restricted due to a variety of structural issues in the mouth including:

Obstructive sleep apnea may also be due to excessive weight, or a large neck circumference. 

Symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Dentists are frequently the first healthcare providers to recognize signs of obstructive sleep apnea. This is because many symptoms can be found during a comprehensive oral exam. Your dentist may ask about daytime sleepiness or headaches. They may inquire into whether or not you’ve been told that you snore.  

Dentists may also discover signs of wear and tear on the teeth indicating bruxism (teeth grinding). Teeth grinding is correlated with obstructive sleep apnea.  

Other symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea include:

How Dentists Treat Obstructive Sleep Apnea

It is important to note that obstructive sleep apnea may increase your risk of diabetes, heart attack, stroke, and high blood pressure. If you suspect you may have this sleep-related breathing disorder, or if you know you snore, be sure to tell your dentist. 

Fortunately, obstructive sleep apnea can often be managed with a custom oral appliance from your dentist. This mouthguard will ensure that your airway remains open by repositioning the tongue and your jaw while you’re sleeping. As a bonus, the oral appliance will help reduce your snoring, and prevent teeth grinding.  

If your dentist determines you are a candidate for a custom oral appliance, you will have digital impressions taken of your mouth. The impressions are completely painless and take just moments. Your dentist will then design a custom night guard for you, sending the images and the treatment plan to a laboratory for manufacturing.  

Frequently Asked Questions

Do night guards hurt?

Your custom night guard should not hurt. That said, it can take some time to adjust to wearing it while you sleep. If your night guard is causing any aches in the jaw or pain in the teeth, contact your dentist.

How often will I need to replace an oral appliance?

Each person is different. With excellent care, your oral appliance should last approximately 2-3 years before needing to be replaced.

Schedule an Appointment at Dunedin Dental Associates for Snoring or Sleep Apnea

If you suspect that you have sleep apnea, or if you’ve been told you snore while you sleep, schedule an appointment at Dunedin Dental Associates. As a 5-star Google-reviewed comprehensive dental practice serving Tampa Bay, we are here to help you get the full night’s sleep you need to preserve your health and well-being. Call 727-734-3321 or send us a message

What Are The Symptoms Of Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a potentially dangerous breathing disorder that affects millions of American adults. The most common type is obstructive sleep apnea, which happens when a patient's airway becomes repeatedly blocked during sleep. Obstructive sleep apnea's consequences may include high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and a risk of sudden death.

Symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Considering how severe obstructive sleep apnea can become, patients need to know what symptoms to watch for. If you have one or more of the symptoms below, speak to a dentist or physician as soon as possible for an evaluation.

Causes of Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea results in a deficit of oxygen in the brain and body. Repeated episodes of stopped breathing lead to immense stress on the circulatory and respiratory systems.

Obesity is one of the top causes of sleep apnea. When a patient has excess tissue in their throat, it may block the airway.

Patients at a healthy weight may also experience obstructive sleep apnea if their throat tissues and tongues relax too much during sleep. Large tonsils and adenoids can contribute as well.

Older males are more prone to the condition. Family history may also play a large role.

Treatment for Sleep Apnea

Dentists and physicians have multiple treatment avenues for patients with obstructive sleep apnea. The most common remedy is using a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine. The machine releases a steady stream of air into the lungs, keeping the airways open and allowing the patient to receive enough oxygen during the night.

Another tactic that dentists use is prescribing oral appliance therapy. Custom oral appliances can correctly hold the jaw and tongue to keep the airway open.

In severe cases, surgery can help by removing tissue that blocks the airway.

Frequently Asked Questions About Sleep Apnea

What happens if sleep apnea goes untreated?

Patients may experience severe health consequences if they do not seek treatment for this disorder. They could face cardiac or respiratory issues.

How can I stop sleep apnea?

Talk to your dentist to discuss your concerns. Together with your primary care physician, they can create a treatment plan incorporating assistive devices and perhaps surgery to help you ensure a good night's sleep.

Call Dunedin Dental Associates

If you have any of the above symptoms or if your partner has told you that you snore very loudly, consider being evaluated for obstructive sleep apnea. You can protect your overall health by using dental and medical treatment options. Please call our Dunedin, FL, office at 727-734-3321 to schedule an appointment today.

How Your Dentist Can Diagnose Sleep Apnea

Do you often wake up feeling tired despite a full and seemingly good night's sleep? These feelings could mean more than just a case of not being a morning person. It might be an indication of sleep apnea, a serious sleep disorder that dentists are trained to help recognize.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea involves repeated interruptions in breathing while asleep, which can be caused by a lack of effort to breathe, physical obstruction of airflow, or a combination of both. These pauses can last from a few seconds to several minutes and can occur more than 30 times per hour.

Sleep Apnea Signs Dentists Look For

Your dentist may be the first to notice or inquire about symptoms of sleep apnea. Here are some signs they often observe:

Suppose a physical blockage of airflow is the root cause. In that case, it's termed Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), the most prevalent form of sleep apnea. Dentists can also sometimes detect sleep apnea from the size and shape of your anatomy.

Other OSA symptoms include:

These symptoms can significantly impact sleep quality, leading to daytime fatigue. Moreover, sleep apnea is associated with a higher risk of heart disease, obesity, hypertension, and diabetes.

While dentists can't officially provide a diagnosis of sleep apnea, they are often among the first to identify symptoms or assess your risk of developing the condition. Your jaw and related structures can contribute to OSA.

A dental examination and X-rays of your neck and mouth may reveal unusually large tissues in the throat or other airway blockages. If they detect any physical obstructions, they will recommend consulting a doctor for further evaluation.

Sleep Apnea? Let Dunedin Dental Associates Help

At Dunedin Dental Associates, our dentists are thoroughly trained and experienced in recognizing the signs and symptoms of sleep apnea. We can even offer a few treatment options. If you don't have sleep apnea but experience extreme snoring, we might be able to help as well.

If you are experiencing sleep apnea symptoms or have questions about snoring or sleep apnea, contact us at 727-734-3321 to schedule a sleep apnea consultation.

How Can I Tell If I Have Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is an increasingly prevalent condition affecting 3-7% of men and 2-5% of women in the United States.

Obstructive sleep apnea is the most typical presentation of the disorder. This condition happens when the airway becomes physically blocked during sleep.

Many people who have sleep apnea are unaware of it. However, many symptoms should be considered red flags. If you note any of these symptoms in yourself or a loved one, call your dentist or primary care physician to learn about diagnosis and treatment options.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

The following are symptoms that sleep apnea may cause:

Loved ones and family members often play a crucial role in getting sleep apnea patients the necessary medical care. Snoring, gasping, and pauses in breathing disturb family members and sleep partners at night, while the patient may not be aware it is happening.

Causes of Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea happens when the muscles at the back of the throat relax excessively. The muscles that support the tissues at the back of the mouth and throat fail to keep the airway open.

A narrowed airway leads to the patient receiving less oxygen than needed. The brain wakes the patient to breathe, making them gasp, snort, or choke.

Diagnosis of Sleep Apnea

While loud snoring is a common symptom of sleep apnea, not everyone with the condition always snores during sleep. If you are experiencing trouble sleeping or wake up tired and irritable, talk to your doctor about undergoing a sleep study and return to your dentist for treatment options.

Consequences of Untreated Sleep Apnea

When left untreated, the oxygen debt associated with sleep apnea can lead to these and other complications:

How Can Dentists Treat Sleep Apnea?

Dentists like the sleep experts at Dunedin Dental Associates can treat obstructive sleep apnea by prescribing custom oral appliances. Oral appliance therapy, or OSA, treats mild to moderate cases of sleep apnea. Worn like a night guard or retainer, the oral appliance keeps the tongue and jaw in the correct positions during sleep. The airway stays open when the appliance holds the tongue in position and the jaw forward.

Call Dunedin Dental Associates

Most snoring is harmless, but there could be severe consequences if snoring comes from sleep apnea. If you believe you or your partner has sleep apnea symptoms, do not hesitate to call Dunedin Dental Associates at 727-734-3321. We can help you get the treatment you need.