Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that occurs when your breathing frequently stops and starts during sleep. These pauses of breath can last for several minutes and in severe cases they may occur 30 or more times per hour. Sleep apnea can potentially be life threatening.
Paused breathing found in sleep apnea causes an imbalance between the carbon dioxide and oxygen levels in the bloodstream. This is because when breathing is paused, your body is not exhaling carbon dioxide and inhaling oxygen as it should. When the brain senses this imbalance, it tells the body to wake up and start breathing again. Most people with sleep apnea don’t always completely awake during the paused breaths, so they are often unaware they have a sleeping disorder. Some people snore loudly or can have a choking sensation in their sleep with this disorder. One in seven people who snore experience significant obstructive sleep apnea.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most prevalent form of sleep apnea and easily treatable by Drs. Davis and Matthews. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when air cannot flow through the nose or mouth due to soft tissue lying at the back of the patient’s throat blocking their airway. The tongue also falls towards the back of the throat during sleep, which further tightens this blockage and prevents oxygen from entering the lungs. As the chest region fights for air, this causes further tightening of the blockage in the airway.
Sleep Apnea Symptoms
Common signs of obstructive sleep apnea include:
• Loud, obstructive or irritating snoring
• Choking or gasping for air during sleep
• Pauses in breathing during sleep
• Severe headaches in the early morning
• Daytime sleepiness
• Falling asleep inappropriately (i.e. driving)
• Twitching/kicking of arms or legs during sleep
Dangers of Sleep Apnea
Untreated OSA can contribute to risks associated with:
• High Blood Pressure
• Heart Attack
• Vascular Damage
• Excessive Daytime Sleepiness
• Gastro-esophageal reflux
• Brain Injury
Dental Sleep Apnea Treatment
Drs. Davis and Matthews at Excel Dental have the technology and expertise to treat sleep apnea in several different ways. With treatment, disease risk returns to normal, so call Excel Dental today to be screened for sleep-disordered breathing if you are concerned.
When a patient at Excel Dental expresses concerns with sleep and/or symptoms related to OSA, our dentists will evaluate that patient’s risk for OSA. At-risk patients will be offered a convenient home sleep apnea test to help Drs. Davis and Matthews diagnose and treat sleep disorders.
Oral appliances for sleep apnea have been proven very effective in treating OSA. In 2006, the Academy of Sleep Medicine designated “…sleep oral appliances as the number one treatment avenue for mild and moderate sleep apnea and snoring.”
People who suffer from sleep apnea are excited to see a non-surgical treatment solution that can replace the CPAP machine. Unlike the CPAP, dental advancement appliances are comfortable, small, and custom fit.
For treatment of mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea or an alternative to CPAP therapy, please call Excel Dental today. Drs. Davis and Matthews may have just the option you need to finally achieve a peaceful and restful sleep!