If you have problems sleeping at night, tend to feel tired during the day and have been told you snore, you may have sleep apnea. Our El Paso dentistry practice can work with you to find a solution.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a serious and potentially life-threatening medical condition that must be properly diagnosed by a doctor. A diagnosis is based on the results of an overnight sleep study called a Polysomnogram or PSG along with a patient evaluation and history.
Sleep apnea occurs when the muscles in the throat intermittently relax and block your airway during sleep. These episodes when you are experiencing lapses in breathing can dangerously last from a few seconds to minutes and may occur more than 30 times an hour. These pauses in your breathing cause you to move out of deep sleep and into light sleep, triggering some serious health issues.
In addition to the snoring and poor quality of sleep, chronic sleep apnea causes several major health problems including:
- Damage to the blood vessels, which causes cardiovascular events which may include heart attack, heart failure and high blood pressure.
- Damage to brain cells which causes memory loss, the inability to think correctly and depression.
- In patients with acid reflect or GERD, it can suck up stomach acid into the lungs that can lead to pulmonary complications such as pneumonia.
- Diabetes even in non-diabetic patients.
- Increases the risk of stroke or death.
Obstructive sleep apnea treatment may involve using a device to keep the airway open such as the CPAP (Continuous Airway Pressure). Another treatment option is a dental mouthpiece designed to keep your jaw forward while you sleep.
If you have moderate to severe sleep apnea, it is necessary that you undergo an initial trial with a nasal CPAP as it is a more effective treatment option than an oral appliance. If you cannot tolerate or refuse to use a CPAP, you may try an oral appliance if cleared by your doctor.
About Oral Appliances Used to Treat Sleep Apnea
There are dozens of different types of oral appliances that fall under two basic categories: Mandibular Advancement Devices (MAD) and Tongue Retained Appliances (TRA). It is essential that the right type of appliance is selected based on your particular needs. Our El Paso cosmetic dentistry practice makes sure that the right appliance is chosen for you that is comfortable and easy to use to ensure that you use the device as directed.
The oral appliance is designed to be worn in the mouth, much like an orthodontic retainer or a mouth guard. The appliance works to keep your airway open during sleep to promote adequate air intake. It does this by preventing your tongue and soft tissues from collapsing in the back of your throat.
If you do not have a sleep doctor, we recommend contacting Dr. Gonzalo Diaz at the El Paso Sleep Center. If you have any questions about sleep apnea treatment or wish to make an appointment with us, please contact us at (915) 58- SMILE or (915) 85-SMILE. We look forward to assisting you soon!
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