Sleep Apnea and the Treatment Options
Sleep apnea is a disorder whereby you experience shortness of breath during sleep. While sleeping, you might start snoring loudly or jerk around due to the apneas. However, you might see the signs of sleep apnea since you are asleep.
There are three types of sleep apnea, namely:
- Obstructive sleep apnea
- Central sleep apnea
- Mixed sleep apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea is a result of blockage of the upper airway, while central sleep apnea occurs when the brain does not send the signals to the muscles that control breathing. On the other hand, mixed or complex sleep apnea is a combination of obstructive and central sleep apnea.
Signs and Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
The most common type of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea. Central and mixed sleep apneas are not common, but some of their signs and symptoms resemble those of the obstructive one. Some of the common signs of obstructive and central sleep apnea include:
- Loud snoring even when taking a nap
- Daytime sleepiness
- Shortness of breath or gasping for air during sleep
- Headache or migraine when you wake up
- Dry mouth when you wake up
- Difficulties paying attention
If you have the above symptoms, you can consider visiting us at The Tooth Family Dental, for diagnosis and treatments.
Risk Factor Associated with Sleep Apnea
Some of the factors that increase the risk of developing obstructive and central sleep apnea include:
- Excessive weight, especially fat deposits around your upper airway
- Thick necks translate to a narrow airway that can cause sleep apnea
- Alcohol, tranquilizers, and sedatives relax your throat muscles blocking the airways
- Being male
- Nasal congestion
- Usage of narcotic pain relievers
- Heart disorders
To diagnose sleep apnea your dentist in Las Vegas will make an evaluation based on your signs and symptoms. To confirm the signs and symptoms, the dentist can conduct sleep tests. Some of the tests to confirm obstructive sleep apnea include:
During the test, the specialist will hook you to a device that monitors your heart rate, breathing pattern, limb movements, blood oxygen levels, and the activity of the lungs and brain while sleeping.
When you opt for home tests, the physician will provide you with simplified home test kits that monitor your heart rate, blood oxygen levels, airflow, and breathing patterns. The portable sleep apnea testing kits might not provide adequate results to diagnose. Therefore, you might still need a polysomnography test.
However, if your vitals are abnormal, the doctor or dentist will recommend therapy immediately.
Sleep Apnea Treatment
If you have mild signs of sleep apnea, your dentist might recommend lifestyle changes such as weight loss, physical exercise, and stopping abuse of substances such as alcohol and tobacco. If lifestyle changes don’t work, there are several treatment options that your specialist can recommend.
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure
CPAP therapy is a treatment option that is beneficial if you have moderate or severe sleep apnea. The doctor will give you a machine that delivers air pressure through a mask while sleeping. The CPAP machine provides air pressure that is greater than the one in the surrounding, keeping your airway open while you are sleeping.
Another treatment option for sleep apnea is using oral appliances to keep your upper airway open during sleep. Some of the oral appliances resemble mouthguards and keep the throat open by bringing the jaw forward, which in turn prevents loud snoring and mild obstructive sleep apneas.
If you have severe obstructive or central sleep apnea, your doctor might recommend surgical treatment options. However, your doctor will only consider surgical treatments when all the other treatments fail.
Some of the surgical options for treating sleep apnea include:
- Tissue removal. The tissue removal procedure involves shedding some tissue deposits from your mouth rear and top of your throat to keep it open. The Surgeon might remove your adenoids and tonsils as well.
- Tissue shrinkage. Your doctor uses a radiofrequency ablation to shrink tissue on your mouth’s rear and throat top, keeping your airway open.
- Repositioning jaws. Your doctor can consider moving the jaw to the front, leaving a large space behind. The large space prevents obstruction of the airway by the tongue as well as keep your throat open.