Serving Georgetown, Texas
Sleep apnea is a frighteningly common disorder, impacting an estimated 1 in 5 males and almost as many females. Marked by periods where you quite literally stop breathing during normal sleep cycles, symptoms of sleep apnea may include:
- Loud snoring
- Choking or gasping for air
- Feeling fatigued upon waking
- Waking with dry mouth
- Grinding during sleep
- Headaches and Migraines
Additional symptoms of sleep apnea include waking with a sore throat, memory and concentration problems, and mood swings. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please contact our Georgetown sleep apnea dentists online or by calling 512-819-9100 to schedule a free consultation and learn how we can help.
What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
There are two basic types of sleep apnea: central and obstructive. Central sleep apnea is typically caused by underlying medical issues and is far less common. Obstructive sleep apnea, often just called OSA, may have many more underlying causes. These include:
- A sedentary lifestyle
- Tobacco use
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Narcotic use
- Genetic factors
OSA accounts for roughly 80% of all sleep apnea cases and, when left untreated, can lead to serious or even fatal complications. New research has found that OSA increases risks for heart attack and stroke, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and mental health problems including aggression and depression. The best way to avoid these more serious complications is to seek treatment for OSA as soon as you recognize its symptoms.
Georgetown sleep apnea dentists Dr. Mandy, Dr. Mark and Dr. Krista understand the dangers of untreated OSA and other sleep apnea dental issues. We are prepared to work swiftly to help you find a solution for your condition that can assist in reducing your risks for serious complications.
How Would I Know if I Have Sleep Apnea?
The most telling signs that you have sleep apnea show up as symptoms. You might snore loudly and not have sleep apnea. What sets this condition apart from snoring is that there are pauses in the sound of snoring, followed by gasping or choking. You may never wake up during these episodes but may be told by a partner or others in your vicinity that you are making such sounds. If you’re curious, find a way to record yourself while you sleep. This may alert you to the cause of other symptoms, such as not being able to feel fully awake and alert during the day, even if you’ve slept several hours.
When you consult with a dentist or doctor about your symptoms, they may order a sleep study. Sleep studies can sometimes be performed in your home, and they are sometimes performed in a sleep center. This type of test involves applying a few different monitors. One may fit on a finger, another may fit around the nose. These monitors measure vital signs, the rate of breathing, and other indicators that can show if and when you stop breathing and for how long. If you think you may have sleep apnea, please contact us! We can help you determine for sure if your snoring is, in fact, coupled with pauses in respiration.
Can Sleep Apnea be Cured?
Sleep apnea is not commonly observed as curable. That said, we must look at the influence of certain factors, such as weight, on the airway. Some studies suggest that sleep apnea caused by obesity may improve or go away if the person loses enough weight to be within their healthy range. In other cases, sleep apnea requires ongoing care to be manageable. Fortunately, an oral airway appliance is comfortable and easy to use, so long-term wear of such a device doesn’t feel intolerable, as CPAP therapy can.
Is Sleep Apnea Dangerous?
Sleep apnea can be dangerous. It should be treated properly and brought under control so associated risks do not persist. Because sleep apnea involves numerous pauses in respiration and also several bursts of adrenaline to force breathing to resume, this condition can affect the heart, brain, and nearly every other organ. Even on the milder side of risks, sleep apnea can affect your mood, productivity, ability to think clearly, and your relationships.
What if Sleep Apnea is Left Untreated?
If you do not get treatment for sleep apnea, it is unlikely that the condition will get worse. This isn’t the main concern. What you need to be aware of is the fact that ongoing, untreated sleep apnea can severely affect your health over time. Some studies suggest that chronic sleep apnea can shorten one’s lifespan.
What Are the Treatment Options for Sleep Apnea?
The two most common treatments for obstructive sleep apnea are CPAP therapy and oral appliance therapy. There are specialists who perform surgery to address excess tissue blocking the airway. CPAP therapy is a treatment that forces air through the nasal passageways while you sleep. It involves wearing a mask over your nose while you sleep. The mask must be hooked up to a machine that delivers the air. This is achieved through a long hose. Oral appliance therapy works in a completely different way. Where CPAP forces the airway open using air, which can cause its own problems, an oral appliance is custom-fit to your mouth and jaw. This form of treatment comfortably repositions your jaw and tongue to prevent airway closure.
What if I Can’t Wear a CPAP Mask?
It is not safe to leave sleep apnea untreated for any length of time. If your CPAP therapy is uncomfortable due to claustrophobia or side effects from the mask or the forced air, consider oral appliance therapy! Our dentists have considerable experience treating obstructive sleep apnea using oral appliance therapy. We’d be happy to speak with you today!
Treating Sleep Apnea
Many cases of sleep apnea benefit from CPAP treatment. CPAP uses machinery to force air into the nose or mouth via tubes or facemasks. While necessary when breath cessation is linked to a medical condition, this method is both obtrusive and overly aggressive for most early and moderate cases of OSA. In fact, many people struggling with OSA find CPAP interferes with sleep even more than the condition alone.
Our dentists provide alternative sleep apnea treatments including customized oral devices that can help keep airways open and airflow unobstructed without intrusive tubing, loud machinery, or forced air. Comfortable and fully customized to your mouth, these devices have a proven efficacy and long history of successfully treating OSA and chronic snoring. In the more severe conditions a combination of the oral appliance with CPAP may prove to be your most effective solution.
During your sleep apnea treatment consultation, we will discuss lifestyle changes in addition to traditional therapies to help ensure you understand all that may be required to reduce your risks for fatal complications and restore a restful and complete night’s sleep.
Contact Our Experienced Sleep Apnea Dentists for Diagnosis & Treatment
To schedule your free sleep apnea treatment consultation, please contact Aesthetic Dentistry of Georgetown today. Call 512-819-9100 today or fill out the form in our contact page. We provide customized OSA treatment for men, women, and children living in Georgetown and all surrounding areas of Texas.