Sleep Apnea Therapy in Denton
If you want to enjoy life to the full, it’s important that you get enough rest. Sleep helps us function better. It gives us energy, stabilizes our mood, and aids our concentration on a day to day. It also plays an important role in overall health. Unfortunately, millions of Americans suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a devastating disorder that snatches away high-quality rest and can lead to serious long-term consequences.
What Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
When soft tissues at the back of the mouth, such as the palate or the tongue, relax too much during sleep, they can block airflow and cause an “apnea,” which is a short period when a person is not breathing. Breathing resumes after a few seconds with a loud gasp or jerk. The number of apneas that a person experiences each night indicates whether they have mild, moderate, or severe OSA.
OSA makes it difficult, perhaps even impossible, for its victims to get into a deep sleep. Therefore, they may experience daytime fatigue and drowsiness, trouble concentrating, mood swings, slowed reaction times, and other unpleasant consequences.
Other symptoms of OSA include:
- Loud snoring
- Regularly waking up with a headache or sore throat
- Restless sleep
If OSA remains untreated for long enough, it can lead to serious system health problems. It has been linked to:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Heart attack and stroke
- Uncontrolled blood sugar
Diagnosis of Sleep Apnea
There is a common stereotype around sleep apnea. Many people believe that only overweight, elderly men suffer from this condition. While advanced age and excess weight do increase the chances that a person will develop OSA, anyone can suffer from it. Even some young athletes develop OSA, and their performance on the field suffers because of it.
If the symptoms of sleep apnea sound all too familiar to you, it’s a good idea for you to talk to your physician about what you’re going through. They can arrange for you to undergo a sleep test, wherein you’ll spend the night in a lab while machines monitor your breathing.
Treating Sleep Apnea
If you discover that you have sleep apnea in Denton, your doctor might recommend that you begin to use a CPAP machine, which uses air pressure to help you breathe at night. However, many people find that a CPAP machine is uncomfortable and inconvenient. Some folks with mild to moderate sleep apnea may be eligible for a simpler treatment.
Your dentist in Denton can provide you with a custom oral appliance that is designed to gently move the jaw forward. This repositioning prevents the soft tissue at the back of your mouth from obstructive airflow, allowing you to fully enjoy your time in dreamland. Soon after you begin treatment, you should start to have more energy and notice other positive effects that can only sweet sleep can bring.
If you are interested in learning more about how a custom oral appliance may be able to help you reclaim your shuteye, please contact our office and schedule an appointment with Dr. Dunson.
Sleep Apnea FAQs
If you suspect you have sleep apnea in Denton, you likely have several concerns about the road ahead, but you don’t have anything to fear. We’ll explain everything during your initial consultation. To ease your apprehensions until your visit, here are the answers to a few of the most common questions patients ask us about the sleep disorder.
How common is sleep apnea?
According to the Institute of Medicine, as many as 70 million Americans have a sleep disorder; however, many remain undiagnosed because the symptoms of the condition can be quite diverse. Although anyone can develop sleep apnea, it’s more often seen in middle-aged men. There is also a connection between obesity and heavy alcohol consumption. It appears the risk of sleep apnea also increases with age. People over the age of 60 are 2-4 times more likely to have obstructive sleep apnea. While men have the highest risk, women and children can be diagnosed with it as well.
Does snoring mean I have sleep apnea?
Snoring and sleep apnea often go hand-in-hand, but not everyone who snores has the sleep disorder. It’s normal to snore occasionally, such as from nasal congestion; however, if the issue is ongoing, it can indicate sleep apnea. Snoring is caused by air vibrations that pass over the soft tissues in the back of the mouth and throat. Since sleep apnea causes the narrowing of your airway, snoring is a common symptom. As a result, if you have loud, chronic snoring, it is a red flag for the disorder. It’s best to contact your dentist right away to undergo a sleep study to determine if obstructive sleep apnea is the cause of the problem.
What should I look for when choosing a sleep apnea dentist?
To breathe easier and avoid any unnecessary complications, you need to see a sleep dentist in Denton. It’s best to look for a dentist who has undergone additional training in breathing-related disorders who also offers several treatment options, like an oral appliance. Dr. Dunson not only earned his dental degree, but he has also completed advanced training in many specialties, like sleep apnea therapy. He remains current with the latest innovations to provide effective solutions for each patient. He’ll create a personalized strategy to prevent pauses in breathing to improve your health and quality of life.
Can I use an oral appliance if I have missing teeth?
Despite the latest advancements in dentistry, tooth loss is still a common problem. If you’ve lost a tooth or two, you might still be a candidate for oral appliance therapy. The device is custom designed to fit your mouth comfortably. Although people who have lost teeth can benefit from an oral appliance, it is often recommended patients have at least 6-8 upper teeth. Your oral appliance can also be fitted over implant dentures if you have good retention. Dr. Dunson will perform a thorough examination and evaluate your severity of tooth loss to determine if an oral appliance is right for you.