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. Johannsen 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. Johannsen 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.
Without the proper quality of rest, your health could decline over time. That’s why Dr. Novak is committed to treating his patients’ sleep apnea with oral appliance therapy. If you have more questions about this condition and are concerned that you may have it, don’t hesitate to contact our office. For your convenience, we’ve answered some common questions we receive from our patients below.
When your airways become obstructed while you’re asleep, it reduces your oxygen flow and can prevent you from reaching deep sleep. There are several factors that can increase your risk of developing this condition. It’s most common among adults who:
If you are at a higher risk for developing sleep apnea and are experiencing common symptoms, be sure to have a sleep study conducted. Once you get diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, you’ll be able to find the best treatment plan for you.
Depending on your unique situation, how long your sleep study takes can vary. Typically, your sleep specialist will examine your breathing patterns and oxygen levels for between nine and ten hours. You can either have it completed in the comfort of your own home, or at a special sleep center. While you sleep, you’ll be attached to equipment and monitors that will measure all of the necessary information needed to establish a diagnosis. After everything is reviewed and you’re diagnosed, you’ll be able to seek different treatment options.
Many patients aren’t huge fans of using CPAP machines because they require a mask to be placed over your nose. This can make it difficult to fall asleep or cause you to wake up throughout the night if you frequently move around and roll. Nowadays, they’ve been made to be more comfortable and quiet than before, so many patients are able to achieve successful results with them. However, if you have difficulty with these machines, there are other treatments that you can turn to, such as oral appliance therapy.
Customized oral sleep appliances are made to comfortably fit in your mouth and open your airway while you’re asleep. The design is similar to that of a retainer, but they’re made to increase your oxygen flow and prevent you from frequently waking up throughout the night.
Sleep apnea has been connected to an increased risk of several health complications. Some of these include:
Due to these serious risks, it’s important to treat your condition. Not only will you be able to function better from day-to-day, but you’ll also be looking after your overall wellbeing.