Do you often wake up feeling exhausted instead of being fully rested? Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night for no reason whatsoever? Have those around you complained your snoring ruins their sleep? Here at Lanier Valley Dentistry, we can help evaluate, diagnose, and treat your sleep apnea so you can have trouble-free sleep without disturbing others around you.
What is Sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea can be described as an anomaly in one's airway during sleep where one’s throat muscles either partially obstruct the airway to produce snoring, or completely obstruct one’s airway. The latter causes the person to have sleep disturbances or be forced to wake up to restart breathing. This can be caused by numerous factors, the most common being throat muscles relaxing too much or in more serious cases, the brain not sending signals to the muscles for breathing properly. As one can see, sleep apnea has the potential to be life-threatening if not dealt with, either potentially leading to or further exacerbating other health problems. These include such as insomnia, heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke.
How we can help
We can provide evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment for sleep apnea in its many forms. We can diagnose what kind of sleep apnea is involved by performing nocturnal polysomnography. This monitors breathing patterns, heart, lung and brain activity, arm and leg movements, and blood oxygen levels.
Furthermore, we will look into one’s patient history to see if previous health issues such as past injuries or health conditions have a factor in the anomaly, or family history, alcohol or tobacco use, or use of other medications, and so on. Also, depending on the test results, we can recommend consultation with other specialized doctors for further evaluation.
There are several ways we can provide treatment. We can provide consultations for health, diet, and lifestyle changes for the cases, and in some cases, some medication to help with sleep. We can also provide breathing aids for more serious cases to help provide trouble-free sleep. One example is Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) where positive air pressure is given through either a nose or face mask of the wearer’s choosing during sleep, with enough air pressure to overcome the wearer's nose or throat obstructions. In addition to CPAP's, there are also auto-CPAP where the device adjusts the positive pressure during sleep.
There are also Bi-level Positive Air Pressure devices where it provides more air pressure during inhaling and less during exhaling. Also, if CPAP's are impractical for the patient, an oral appliance could be used to keep the user’s airways unobstructed. While it may be less effective than a CPAP, it may be easier and more convenient for the user to use. If any or all of the above treatment does not help after three months, surgery may be recommended to move or remove obstructions in the throat.
Read more about oral appliance therapy.
For more information about sleep apnea, call the experienced professionals here at Lanier Valley Dentistry at (678) 802-8654 today!