Do you ever go to sleep early, only to wake up tired? Does your partner complain about your loud snoring? Do you wake up in the middle of the night feeling like you’re choking?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be suffering from a very serious condition called sleep apnea. Since only a sleep specialist can diagnose sleep apnea, a collaborative effort with the sleep doctor and Atlanta dentist Dr. Ronak Patel can help you manage this disorder.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a condition where you periodically stop breathing while sleeping.
There are two types of sleep apnea:
The mostly common form is called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). In this case, something blocks your airway, preventing your from breathing several times throughout the night. Your brain is depleted of oxygen, and this can cause many complications, including heart attack and stroke. In severe cases, people can stop breathing up to 30 times an hour!
The other, less common, form is called central sleep apnea. During central sleep apnea, a specific brain function is not sending a signal to your respiratory system to breathe. This can be a very complex disorder, but many treatment methods used for OSA may be able to help.
What Can a Dentist Do to Help Sleep Apnea?
During a comprehensive exam with Dr. Patel, he may suggest making some changes in your behavior and lifestyle to help with managing the sleep apnea. Anyone can be affected by sleep apnea regardless of age or gender, but weight loss, quitting smoking, and changing sleep positions may be helpful.
Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is currently the standard treatment for sleep apnea. CPAP therapy requires that you wear a mask while you sleep, which is attached to a device that pushes air into the mask and through your breathing passages in order to help them stay open throughout the night. Unfortunately, many people struggle with CPAP, finding the mask uncomfortable. They have trouble sleeping with the mask on and find that the CPAP machine is a hassle if they do a lot of traveling for business or for pleasure. It’s estimated that as many as half the people who try CPAP eventually fail this therapy.
This doesn’t mean that you’re doomed to suffer from sleep apnea the rest of your life. Other treatment options are available, and Dr. Patel can help you find one that works for you.
If you’re looking for an alternative to CPAP, consult with Dr. Patel about having a custom mouthpiece created. We can help fabricate an appliance that fits in your mouth at night to improve your mouth’s position and allow air to flow freely. Personalized mouthpieces are more comfortable than CPAP, and many people tolerate them better.
To schedule your consult with Atlanta dentist Dr. Patel, please contact Heart of Vinings Dentistry today.