Sleep apnea is a serious condition that causes individuals to stop breathing sporadically during their sleep cycle. This lack of oxygen can leave patients feeling fatigued and exhausted. If left untreated, this disorder can result in more serious health-related issues, including hypertension, heart problems, stroke, depression, diabetes, and chronic headaches, among other things. At National Dental Upper East Side, we have a sleep medicine specialist on staff who can diagnose your condition and recommend appropriate treatment. It is important to address this condition as soon as possible so you can maintain long-term health and wellbeing.
Types of Sleep Apnea
There are two primary types of sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common kind. This condition occurs when the soft tissues in the oral cavity become too relaxed and collapse over the airway. Central sleep apnea, which is less common, is due to a lack of communication between the brain and the breathing muscles.
Who is at Risk for Sleep Apnea?
Although it can be difficult to predict who will suffer from sleep apnea, there are a few risk factors that increase your chance of developing the condition. For example, you are more likely to experience sleep apnea if you:
- Are overweight
- Are over the age of 40 (although sleep apnea can affect patients of all ages, even children)
- Have enlarged oral soft tissues, such as oversized tonsils
- Suffer from GERD (gastroesophageal reflux)
- Have an abnormally large neck size
- Experience nasal blockages due to sinus issues, allergies, or a deviated septum
What are the Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?
Due to the nature of sleep apnea, many patients do not even realize they are having problems. Oftentimes, individuals will experience chronic headaches, irritability, or fatigue during the day, yet they do not remember waking or gasping for air the night before. In some cases, patients only know there is an issue because their partner notices abnormal sleep behavior. Although the signs of sleep apnea can be vast and varied, there are a few common symptoms, such as:
- Lack of energy
- Restless sleep or insomnia
- Frequent mood changes
- Loud snoring
- Sore throat or hoarseness upon waking
- Headaches, particularly during the morning hours
Diagnosing Sleep Apnea
During a consultation at our practice, your doctor will evaluate the oral soft tissues to determine if you could be suffering from obstructive sleep apnea. If this disorder is suspected, you may be asked to undergo a sleep study, which can be performed by our in-house sleep medicine specialist. After observing your body’s responses during the sleep cycle, we will be able to make treatment recommendations based on your specific needs.
Oral Appliance Therapy for Sleep Apnea
There are several concepts currently on the market for treating sleep apnea. While CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) remains one of the most common therapies, many patients find they are unable to wear these devices, as they can be burdensome and uncomfortable. Oral appliance therapy is an excellent alternative that is growing in popularity among sleep apnea sufferers. At National Dental, we can craft a custom oral appliance that will fit snugly over your teeth and gently reposition your lower jaw. In many cases, this will move the soft tissues away from the back of the throat, effectively opening the airway. >> Learn more about Oral Appliances
Contact Your Manhattan Dentist Today
Untreated sleep apnea can wreak havoc on your overall health. Don’t wait until your symptoms worsen. Schedule a visit at our Upper East Side practice to explore your treatment options. Call us at (646) 736-2206 or contact us online anytime.