Sleep apnea is a severe sleep disorder that causes patients to stop breathing for short periods while sleeping. Several factors, including obesity, smoking, alcohol use, and certain medical conditions, can cause it. If left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to other health problems such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
There are three types of sleep apnea. First is obstructive sleep apnea, the most common type of sleep apnea. A physical blockage of the airway causes it. This blockage can result from excess tissue in the throat, large tonsils, a large tongue, or a deviated septum. Second is central sleep apnea, caused by the brain failing to signal properly to the muscles responsible for controlling breathing. The third is mixed sleep apnea, a combination of both obstructive and central sleep apnea.
There are several treatments for sleep apnea, including lifestyle changes, oral appliances, and surgery. The most common treatment we perform at Deep Ellum Advanced Dentistry is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy, which involves wearing a mask that provides constant air pressure to keep the airways open. Other treatments include weight loss, quitting smoking, and avoiding alcohol before bedtime.
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
- Loud snoring
- Daytime sleepiness and fatigue
- Morning headaches
- Dry mouth or sore throat upon waking
- Difficulty concentrating
- Memory loss
- Decreased libido
- High blood pressure
- Restlessness during sleep
The Treatments for Sleep Apnea
Losing excess weight can reduce the severity of sleep apnea, as obesity is a significant risk factor. A balanced diet and regular exercise contribute to healthier sleep patterns. Changing your sleep position, particularly from back sleeping to side sleeping, can help keep the airway open and reduce the risk of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) events.
Avoiding alcohol and sedatives, especially before bedtime, can help reduce sleep apnea symptoms. Alcohol and sedatives relax the muscles in the throat, increasing the likelihood of airway obstruction.
The most common treatment for sleep apnea in Dallas is a CPAP machine. This device is worn at night while you sleep. It delivers a constant flow of air through a mask you wear over your nose and mouth to keep your airway open and prevent pauses in your breathing.
Oral Appliance Therapy
For mild cases of sleep apnea, an oral appliance may be recommended. This is a custom-made device that fits in your mouth like a mouthguard. It helps keep your jaw forward to prevent your tongue and other soft tissues from blocking your airway.
If other treatment options haven’t worked, surgery may be necessary. There are several types of surgeries available to treat sleep apnea. Our dentist in Dallas, TX may recommend removing excess tissue from your upper airway, repositioning your lower jaw, or implanting a device to stimulate the nerves that control your airway muscles.
The most suitable treatment for sleep apnea depends on its type, severity, and individual factors. Visit Deep Ellum Advanced Dentistry at 3112 Main St., Dallas 75226, or call (214) 466-6610 for an accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment plan.