Sleep Apnea: Are You At Risk?
Snoring: we all do it sometimes and no one enjoys sleeping next to a snorer. While most people will experience the occasional evening of snoring from time to time there’s a different group of people who snore constantly and many of those people suffer from sleep apnea.
If you aren’t familiar with sleep apnea you probably have no idea how to recognize or diagnose it. This serious condition can cause some bad long-term health effects so it’s important you learn whether you or a loved one is at risk. At Overmeyer Family Dental we can treat sleep apnea with ease and help protect your health for years to come!
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea involves blockage of the airway during sleep, which causes interruption in breathing. Those interruptions, called apneas, can last several seconds and can happen very frequently at night. Over time patients with sleep apnea can develop high blood pressure, increased risk of stroke, heart disease, headaches, poor sleep, and constant fatigue.
People with sleep apnea also tend to snore very loudly between pauses in breathing. Both apneas and snoring are due to airway collapse that occurs because of the relaxation of soft tissues around the airway. That relaxation can often lead to airway collapse, which completely blocks your ability to breath.
Are You At Risk?
If you or someone you share a bed with is a loud, constant snorer it’s very possible they have sleep apnea. There are a number of different risk factors that make it more likely that a person develops the condition.
- Males over the age of 40 are the most frequently diagnosed sleep apnea patients.
- Obesity is one of the most common risk factors. When you’re overweight your neck can be constricted and airway blockage occurs much more easily.
- If your neck is more than 17 inches (for men) or 16 inches (for women) your risks of sleep apnea are greatly increased. This is most commonly found in obese patients but can also be the case for athletes and people who are simply large!
- Certain unavoidable biological conditions like a small jaw, large tonsils, a large tongue, deviated septum, or sinus problems are all risk factors for sleep apnea. These problems are often due to the size or shape of your body and have nothing to do with your weight or other controllable factors.
- Acid reflux disease is common in sleep apnea patients.
All of these risk factors are simply possibilities. To know for sure that you suffer from sleep apnea it’s important that you come see us at Overmeyer Family Dental! We can diagnose and treat your sleep apnea so that you can sleep better and have a higher quality of life!
Sleep Apnea Treatments
We can perform a full exam to look for physical signs of sleep apnea and we are also able to order a sleep study that will monitor your vital signs during the night to identify any signs of sleep apnea. Once we know that you’re suffering from sleep apnea we can take one of two treatment courses to help ease your symptoms: CPAP or oral appliances.
CPAP, or continuous positive airway pressure, is one of the most reliable treatments for sleep apnea but it’s also one of the hardest to get used to. CPAP machines consist of masks attached to hoses that feed to a bedside unit that continuously feeds air at a pressure that keeps your airway from collapsing. These machines will definitely ease your sleep apnea symptoms but many patients have a hard time getting used to them. We only recommend CPAP if our oral appliances don’t work.
We use two oral appliances to treat sleep apnea: the Tap 3 Elite and the Silent Nite anti-snore guard. Both are custom made to fit your teeth and work by keeping the jaw in a forward position that not only prevents snoring but also keeps the airway open. These treatments are successful for the vast majority of our patients and we’ll know just which one will work best for you after a full exam.
Get Treatment Now!
Sleep apnea can lead to serious health effects later in life. Don’t let your health suffer because of a condition that can be treated easily at our Orlando dentist office!
If you’re worried that you or someone you love is suffering from sleep apnea give Overmeyer Family Dental a call today! You can reach us at (407) 871-3143 or you can request an appointment by filling out our online form. We look forward to seeing you soon!