Many habits and conditions can leave you feeling exhausted, lackluster, and even forgetful. A common cause of daytime drowsiness and other negative symptoms is sleep apnea, with or without snoring. Most people don’t think about talking with their dentist about sleep disorder symptoms. However, sleep apnea and snoring, in many cases, can be treated non-invasively by a dentist. Dr. Maxwell Johnson of Oracle Family Dentistry in Oro Valley, AZ wants to hear from you if you suffer from the symptoms of a sleep disorder.
Call Oracle Family Dentistry today at 520-219-7004 to schedule your appointment with Dr. Johnson. He’ll talk with you about your symptoms and help determine whether treatment with a sleep appliance may give you restful, rewarding sleep every night.
About Sleep Apnea
Experts suggest that one out of every 15 Americans suffers from sleep apnea. That’s 18 million people, nationwide. The condition has three distinct types: obstructive, central, and mixed. Dr. Johnson treats the obstructive variety.
The word “apnea” literally means a stopping of breath. So obstructive sleep apnea is defined as cessation of breath during sleep. For patients with OSA, oftentimes soft tissues in the back of the mouth relax to completely block the windpipe, so air cannot be inhaled. These apneic episodes usually last up to 20 seconds or longer, and they occur repeatedly throughout a sleep session. Though the patient may be completely unaware of it, when his blood oxygen level plummets due to not breathing, his brain triggers a response. The brain wakes the body, even if slightly, to resume breathing. The apneic episodes can actually occur hundreds of times during a single night, therefore the body never reaches the deep REM sleep necessary for good rest. Research shows that OSA also affects circadian rhythms, meaning the timing of sleep cycles.
Do you suffer with any of these OSA symptoms?
- Loud, irregular snoring
- Waking up while choking, gasping, or coughing
- Poor memory
- Poor focus/attention
- Falling asleep during the day in times of low activity
- Lack of sex drive or impotence
One of the most recognizable symptoms of OSA is snoring. As soft tissues block airflow, the lungs work hard to exhale, despite the blockage. Air that gets past the blockage causes the tissues to vibrate, creating the sounds of snores. Very loud and irregular snores are common to patients who receive an OSA diagnosis. Snoring may also disrupt the sleep of anyone within earshot, harming the sleep quality of both the snorer and his or her roommates. Their spouses or roommates may complain about their snoring, because they’re experiencing negative effects, as well.It is not uncommon for OSA sufferers sometimes notice tension in these relationships, due to sleep deprivation for both parties.
Non-Invasive Treatment for OSA and Snoring
If you believe that you may suffer from OSA, talk with Dr. Johnson about your symptoms and concerns. A diagnosis is not necessary before undergoing non-invasive sleep apnea or snoring treatment, unless you want insurance to cover a portion of the cost. In this case, the doctor would refer you to a sleep center for positive diagnosis. There, you’d remain overnight while medical sleep professionals monitor your breathing, snoring, and blood oxygen levels.
To treat obstructive sleep apnea and/or snoring, Dr. Johnson has found that an oral appliance is usually effective, while also being non-invasive. A snore guard, as it is called, is simply a small plastic mouth appliance that fits between upper and lower teeth. By keeping the lower jaw from jutting backward toward the skull during sleep, the sleep guard helps keep soft tissues from blocking airflow to and from the lungs. An open, unobstructed windpipe allows for easy, regular breathing, so both snoring and OSA are effectively treated.
All of the nagging, frustrating symptoms you experienced, such as daytime fatigue and an inability to concentrate, will subside once you’ve caught up on your seep. Your quality of life, and that of your sleep mate, could improve dramatically and quickly, with treatment.
Do not allow snoring and sleep deprivation to negatively influence your health, relationships, and work. Call Oracle Family Dentistry in Oro Valley today to reserve a personal consultation with Dr. Johnson. Isn’t it time you had a great night’s sleep?