Sleep Apnea is a sleep disorder that affects the normal breathing of a person during sleep. It is a condition characterized by frequent stoppages in one’s breathing due to an obstruction in the airway. Patients with sleep apnea often experience trouble breathing, which could lead to several other symptoms over time.
What causes sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is of three types based on their cause. They are as follows:
- Obstructive sleep apnea: This type of sleep apnea occurs due to an obstruction in the airway. When we sleep, the tissues of the body go into a state of relaxation. When the soft tissues of the throat relax too much, they may end up collapsing onto the airway, thereby blocking it entirely or partially. The patient would often wake up startled due to an inability to breathe.
- Central sleep apnea: CSA is caused due to the delayed transfer of sensory signals from the brain to the lungs. Due to this, the lungs do not inhale air on time. As a result, the patient wakes up due to a lack of oxygen in the middle of sleep.
- Mixed sleep apnea: It is a condition characterized by both Obstructive and Central Sleep Apnea.
What are its symptoms?
- Lack of sleep
- Loss of appetite
- Frequent sore throat due to snoring
- Headaches, especially right after waking up
- Frequent pauses in the breathing pattern during sleep
- Feeling sleepy during daytime
- Fatigue and lethargy
- Reduced levels of tolerance
How can sleep apnea be treated?
The simplest way to treat sleep apnea is to prevent the collapse of tissues from the throat, thereby avoiding the blockage of the airway. But, how can this be done when the patient is asleep? Lucky for us, dental technology has advanced a lot in recent years, providing us with the perfect treatment options to counter sleep apnea.
An oral appliance called the mandibular advancement device is the simplest treatment option. It is a mouthguard-like appliance that is placed in the mouth. It allows the lower jaw to be moved forward, thereby expanding the opening of the airway. It also holds the roof of the throat stable and prevents its collapse during sleep.
Another option that we offer is the CPAP or Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. It is a device that provides a continuous supply of oxygen by means of a pressurized cylinder. It would be connected to a mask that would comfortably fit over the nose and mouth. The patient has to wear it before going to sleep. The device maintains a positive pressure in the airway, thereby preventing its blockage. Also, the lungs receive an adequate supply of oxygen.
To have a consultation with our team of dentists, please call our office at (770) 995-0538 or schedule an online consultation, and we’ll guide you further.