The prevalence of sleep apnea has surged over the last decade and now affects more than 25 million adults in this country. That’s about 26% of Americans between the ages of 30 and 70. What’s more, the impact of this condition extends beyond a mere loss of sleep. Obstructive sleep apnea has been associated with Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, and other serious health complications.
At Comfort Dental Spa in Farmington, MI, our team of highly-experienced, board-certified dental specialists understand the far-reaching impact of sleep apnea and also understand the drawbacks of using a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. As dentists, we offer an alternative treatment that helps our patients breathe more comfortably at night.
Here’s a look at how we can treat your sleep apnea.
The basics of sleep apnea
First, here’s a look at just what this problem is.
The most common form of sleep apnea is called obstructive sleep apnea. This form of the disorder causes you to stop breathing during sleep, as a result of your throat muscles relaxing to the point of blocking your airway. This can occur hundreds of times a night, and each time it does, your brain registers a lack of oxygen and causes you to awake.
Many sleep apnea sufferers quickly fall back to sleep and are therefore unaware that this is happening. Often, it's someone else sleeping in the same room that notices the problem. Snoring is a hallmark symptom of sleep apnea, although not everyone who snores has a problem. If you live alone, the only symptoms you might be having are daytime sleepiness, fatigue, and drowsiness while driving. The sleep deficit builds up, and your entire body can be affected.
Treating sleep apnea
One of the first treatments your doctor may recommend is a CPAP machine, which is a device with a breathing mask that delivers pressurized air into your throat. Though effective, the CPAP machine has considerable drawbacks. For starters, the mask is cumbersome and can, therefore, make it difficult to sleep. Secondly, a CPAP machine requires a power source. It also makes some noise, which can disturb you, as well as your bedmate. The CPAP machine isn’t convenient to travel with either.
The good news is, we have alternative treatment options, including three different adjustable custom oral appliances:
- Thornton Adjustable Positioner (TAP)® 3
- OASYS Oral/Nasal Airway System™
- Klearway™ appliance
- Herbst telescopic appliance
- Lifestyle changes
Your dentist might also suggest such lifestyle changes as losing weight, reducing alcohol consumption, or stop smoking. In rare cases, when conservative treatments do remedy sleep apnea episodes, your dentist may recommend surgery to slightly reposition your jaw to improve breathing.
Benefits of managing sleep apnea
Untreated, sleep apnea increases your risk for or severity of various diseases and conditions. It can also have a negative impact on your personal and professional life. Conversely, managing your sleep apnea offers many benefits, such as:
For sleep apnea and all of your oral health concerns, contact Comfort Dental Spa, call the office at (248) 4747-6434 to schedule a consultation or request an appointment using our online scheduling tool.