What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a medical condition where the patient experiences interruptions in breathing overnight. Breathing is fundamental for humans, so any disruptions in breathing during sleep can significantly impact your overall health.
Who is at Risk for Sleep Apnea?
Anyone can be at risk for sleep apnea, regardless of age or body type. Children as young as five, teenagers, young adults, and older patients can all experience sleep apnea.
How Does Sleep Apnea Affect Oral Health?
Sleep apnea can have negative effects on your oral health. Breathing through the mouth due to sleep apnea can cause dry mouth, cavities, and gingivitis. Sleep grinding or bruxism is also common with sleep apnea, leading to tooth wear.
Can a Dentist Help Diagnose and Treat Sleep Apnea?
Dentists can play a role in diagnosing and treating sleep apnea. While we cannot diagnose sleep apnea, we can identify certain signs related to the mouth and oral tissues that may indicate its presence.
What Treatment Options Might a Dentist Recommend?
Dentists can create dental appliances to aid with sleep apnea. Additionally, medical specialists may suggest a CPAP machine. It's crucial to receive proper diagnosis and treatment for this condition.
Can Oral Surgery Help Cure Sleep Apnea?
The question is complex and context-dependent. Oral surgery might be considered as part of a comprehensive treatment plan, but it's essential to consult with a medical professional to determine the most suitable approach.
What Appliances Do Dentists Recommend for Sleep Apnea?
In our office, we offer two types of dental appliances for sleep apnea. One type adjusts the lower jaw to prevent the tongue from obstructing the airway. The other type creates space for the tongue, allowing for unobstructed breathing.
Schedule an Appointment
If you have additional inquiries or are ready to take the next step, please don't hesitate to call our office at (201) 845-5533. We're here to assist you.
If you feel as though you have no energy and are too tired to keep up with your friends and family, you should visit our dental office to talk about sleep apnea. This may be what is causing your issues, and a simple non-invasive treatment may be just what you need to feel like yourself again. To schedule an appointment with our dental office, call (201) 845-5533. We will be happy to discuss your treatment and then make a recommendation for how you should proceed.
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a condition that makes it difficult for your body to receive the oxygen you need to properly function. Without enough oxygen, you will feel drained and sluggish, but since the condition manifests itself at night, most people have no idea that they have it.
How does sleep apnea impact a person’s health?
There are many health problems that can arise from untreated sleep apnea. They can include a stroke, high blood pressure, headaches, diabetes, depression, mood swings, heart failure, ADHD that becomes worse, and an overall lack of well being.
How does sleep apnea negatively impact a person’s life?
With enough oxygen, your body will have a difficult time functioning. Beyond the health effects, this can translate to not having enough energy to stay awake past dinner, enjoy your kid's birthday parties, go for a bike ride, or even drive your car. In fact, when you are tired, the basic and often mundane activities of life can put you to sleep. This can make it dangerous to get behind the wheel and could compromise your work performance. Essentially, your quality of life can be greatly diminished, making it critical that you visit a Paramus dentist to have your sleep apnea treated.
What is the difference between sleep apnea and a sleep disorder?
Sleep apnea is a physical condition that makes it impossible to breathe clearly while you are sleeping. As a result, your body will not get enough oxygen to function at an optimal level. A sleep disorder can be one of the following:
- Insomnia. When it comes to sleep disorders, insomnia can be long-term or temporary. Often brought on by external factors like stress, insomnia can be treated with an oral medication.
- Narcolepsy. As a sleep disorder, narcolepsy is by far the worst. It can impact you throughout your entire life, making you feel so exhausted that you are forced to suddenly fall asleep, regardless of where you are or what you are doing. Narcolepsy is a true life disrupter.
- Restless leg syndrome. Commonly impacting pregnant women, restless leg syndrome can force your legs to move all throughout the night. Giving you a feeling of constant tingles or a burning and itching sensation, RLS can be highly distracting and impact anyone at any time. It helps to go for a walk or exercise during the day, since those who are sedentary tend to experience RLS more frequently.
- Jet lag. While most people view jet lag as a part of long-distance travel, it is a real sleep disorder, and if your body does not adjust well to the changes in time zones, jet lag could impact you for days or even weeks if you continue to travel from place to place. This disruption in your sleep patterns can make it difficult to get caught up on the rest you need, and may leave you feeling worn down to the point of potentially getting sick. Fortunately, this condition will eventually rectify itself when you get back home and stop traveling.
- Snoring. If you snore too loudly, you could wake up your Paramus neighbors, your spouse, or just yourself. Many people cannot get a good night’s sleep because they snore too loudly, and this condition is often brought on by sleep apnea.
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What are the two main types of sleep apnea?
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). When you have obstructive sleep apnea, your lower jawbone muscles will be too weak to hold your jaw in place as you sleep. As a result, it can fall backward and your tongue with it. Your tongue will then block your airway, making it impossible to breathe clearly while sleeping. This is why people with OSA will typically snore or sound like they are choking in their sleep. This is one of the signs that the body is trying to move the tongue in order to breathe. Another cause of OSA is having too much fatty tissue in the back of your throat. This is one reason obesity is a risk factor for OSA.
- Central Sleep Apnea. In this condition, the brain is responsible for the sleep apnea. By not sending signals to the muscles in charge of breathing, your body fails to respond as it should. This is not something that can be treated by a dentist, but instead, you will need to see a specialist.
How is sleep apnea treated?
At Paramus Dental Arts, we recommend that patients explore all non-invasive treatment options first. This is why we will often suggest that our Paramus, NJ patients wear a removable oral appliance. An oral appliance is a convenient treatment option because it does not make any noise and is incredibly discrete. Some patients also require the use of a CPAP machine to provide them with additional oxygen. The challenge with a CPAP is that it can be loud and uncomfortable to wear. The third treatment option for OSA is to have surgery to remove the extra fatty tissue blocking your airway.
How does an oral appliance work?
Wearing an oral appliance is incredibly easy. It is customized for your mouth specifically so it fits snugly and securely. As a result, you can simply slip it into place when you go to sleep. It remains in place inside of your mouth and does an excellent job of holding your lower jaw in the forward position. This prevents your tongue from falling backward and keeps your airway clear. Some people receive all of the benefit they need by wearing an oral appliance, while those with severe sleep apnea may also require the use of a CPAP machine at the same time. In this case, most patients report that their CPAP is far more comfortable than when they were using it as a standalone treatment option.
To learn more about sleep apnea or discuss your oral health in general, call (201) 845-5533 and schedule an appointment with our Paramus dental office. At Paramus Dental Arts, we are happy to discuss your health challenges and make recommendations, even if we have to refer you to a specialist for treatment.
Reasons one should never ignore the signs of sleep apnea
OSA causes brief bouts of wakefulness up to 30 times an hour throughout the night. These episodes of wakefulness, combined with the low oxygen levels, can lead to several life-altering and possibly life-threatening consequences. Below are just five reasons one should never ignore the signs of OSA.
1. Daytime fatigue
Even if a person gets the recommended eight hours of sleep each night, sleep apnea causes interrupted sleep, which results in daytime fatigue. Daytime fatigue is characterized by concentration problems, memory issues, irritability and lack of productivity. It may also cause a person to fall asleep at inconvenient or even dangerous times. For instance, according to WebMD, people with sleep apnea are five times more likely to fall asleep behind the wheel and cause an accident than those without the condition.
2. Weight gain
Individuals with sleep apnea are more likely to gain weight than those who do not have the condition. The weight gain is the result of several factors. For one, the metabolism slows down when a person is sleep deprived. Two, a sleep-deprived individual has less energy to work out or to prepare healthy meals for oneself.
Three, sleep deprivation causes a hormone imbalance. When asleep, the body produces two hormones, ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin tells a person when to eat while leptin tells the body to stop eating. During a solid six to nine hours of uninterrupted sleep, the body produces equal amounts of the hormones. However, when a person sleeps fitfully, the body may produce more ghrelin and less leptin, which equates to weight gain.
3. Type 2 diabetes
Just like lack of sleep can affect the body's ability to produce proper amounts of leptin and ghrelin, so too can it affect the body's ability to regulate insulin. When the body fails to regulate insulin, a person's risk for developing diabetes increases exponentially. In fact, WebMD suggests that 80% or more of people who live with diabetes also have OSA.
4. Heart disease
Sleep apnea disrupts how the body takes in oxygen, which leads to low oxygen levels. Low oxygen levels, combined with the stress that comes with interrupted sleep, increase one's risk for heart attack and stroke.
5. High blood pressure
Sleep apnea can cause high blood pressure or make an existing condition worse. When a person has to constantly wake to catch their breath, the body become stressed. Stress makes the body's hormones go into overdrive, which raises blood pressure levels. Conversely, treatment for OSA can help regulate blood pressure levels.