Sleep apnea is a chronic condition that doesn’t just interrupt your sleep – it can wreak havoc on your ability to function, your relationships, and even your overall quality of life. While most people wouldn’t immediately think of a dentist when wanting to treat their sleep apnea, you’d be surprised! Dr. Doolittle knows your mouth better than any general physician, and she can help you finally achieve the quality, uninterrupted sleep you deserve. If you’ve been diagnosed by a sleep specialist or doctor, consider contacting our Weatherford, TX practice today and scheduling a consultation.
Obstructive sleep apnea (also known as OSA) occurs when a patient’s airway becomes partially or fully blocked during rest, causing a pause in their breathing. Once oxygen is no longer flowing, the brain will send out an emergency signal that rouses the patient so that they can correct the problem. These brief pauses may not last more than a couple of seconds, but they can occur dozens, even hundreds of times each and every night, effectively fracturing the REM sleep you need to feel genuinely rested in the morning. So how do you know if you’re suffering from this form of sleep apnea? Here are some common symptoms:
If one or more of these bullet points sound familiar, it’s time to schedule an appointment with your general physician. Untreated sleep apnea has several potential consequences – for instance, those patients are more likely to experience strokes, heart attacks, and higher blood pressure. The exhaustion you feel may lead to a workplace mishap or a car accident. Your relationships with loved ones can suffer as you become more irritable due to the lack of quality sleep. It’s best to treat these symptoms as early as possible and get back to living the life you deserve!
The most common form of sleep apnea treatment is the CPAP machine, which is outfitted with a facial mask that forces air down the patient’s throat as they sleep. While CPAP is effective in treating the problem, there’s a big downside – patient compliance. Because this machine is bulky, uncomfortable, and noisy, many patients become frustrated and stop using it, allowing their sleep apnea to go untreated. Thankfully, Dr. Doolittle can prescribe a custom-made oral appliance as a suitable alternative!
Oral appliance therapy is designed to comfortably reposition the mouth so that the airway no longer becomes blocked during rest, allowing oxygen to flow in freely. These devices are comfortable, convenient to store, and easy to travel with, which means patients will be much more likely to use them consistently. Oral appliance therapy is best suited for patients with mild to moderate cases of OSA. Patients with more severe OSA may also be capable of achieving relief with an oral appliance if it’s combined with CPAP use as well.