The statistics of sleep apnea prevalence are as shocking and unbelievable as the health risks. You may not believe it, but nearly 25 million adult Americans struggle with sleep apnea, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Luckily, people who have this disorder are able to get treatment to successfully overcome it. Receiving proper treatment helps eradicate the risks that come with the condition. Our team at Dr. Emily Zaramella, DDS understands the challenges and difficulties you go through whether emotional or physical when you suffer from sleep apnea. It is for this reason that we provide solutions to the disorder.
Types of Sleep Apnea
Different kinds of sleep apnea have been identified and they are obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), central sleep apnea (CSA), and mixed sleep apnea. OSA is the most common type of disorder and it develops when the upper airway is partially or wholly blocked during sleep. When you have a bout of apnea, the chest, as well as the diaphragm muscles, work strenuously because of the heightening pressure to open the blocked airways.
Unlike obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea does not present with blockage of the airways. What happens is that the brain fails to relay information to the muscles to breathe. Central sleep apnea arises from problems within the respiratory control center and is associated with the central nervous system. Mixed sleep apnea features episodes of obstructive sleep apnea in combination with central sleep apnea.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea Symptoms
Do not be surprised when you get to our dental office and our dentist asks if you experience sleep problems or snore while sleeping. Dental professionals are some of the earliest diagnosticians of sleep disorders. You will experience breathing interruptions that occur repeatedly during the night. You may have pauses that last seconds to even minutes. These breathing pauses can occur 30 or so times hourly. The pauses happen because the muscles located at the back area of your throat are too large or you have a tongue that is very large or your jaw is too small. As a result, you experience airway obstructions.
The first sign you have when going through a sleep apnea episode is teeth grinding, also referred to as Bruxism. Our dentist will look for signs such as worn-out tooth surfaces as they signal that you may be experiencing teeth grinding. Additionally, the dentist checks for increased cavities, inflamed or receding gums because tooth wear and breakages occurring from grinding can cause these problems.
How Our Office Can Help
Treatment of obstructive sleep apnea involves the use of a CPAP machine. This is the gold standard for treating the disorder. Nonetheless, CPAP may not work well for some patients. Our dentist may suggest an oral appliance therapy device that resembles a mouthguard for sports. The dentist makes a mouth impression, which is used to fabricate the device. You will receive your device once it is ready, often on a future date. We may also provide you with a repositioner that you use in the morning to help realign the bite after taking away the oral device.
Learn more about sleep apnea and how it can impact your oral health. Visit us at Dr. Emily Zaramella, DDS or contact us on phone at 737-273-3303.