Sleep apnea is a serious health disorder where you stop breathing while sleeping. Chronic, unchecked obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can lead to hypertension, cardiovascular disease, metabolic disorders, obesity, and neuropsychiatric and developmental issues. Your dentist can help screen for sleep apnea by recognizing some of its signs and symptoms. For example, grinding and clenching of the teeth while you sleep can be related to sleep apnea. Lee Dental Centers offers sleep apnea treatment by partnering with your sleep physician and providing oral appliances that improve jaw position and oxygen flow while you sleep. If you have already completed a sleep study, please bring the results to your dental appointment.
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Types of Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a serious disorder and has a few subtypes. Here are the different types of sleep apnea.
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea is the most common form of sleep apnea. Obstructive Sleep Apnea occurs whenever your throat muscles relax while you sleep.
- Central Sleep Apnea occurs when the brain does not send the correct signals to the muscles that control your breathing.
- Complex Sleep Apnea Syndrome – (Also known as Treatment-Emergent Central Sleep apnea) occurs when somebody has both Central Sleep Apnea and Obstructive Sleep Apnea.
If you suspect that you have any form of sleep apnea, contact your doctor immediately.
More About Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive Sleep apnea happens when your muscles relax in the back of your throat. These throat muscles help support the tonsils, soft palate, the side of the throat walls, and the uvula. When these muscles relax, the airways narrow, and in some cases, they close completely when you try to breathe. Once your brain senses you can’t breathe, it wakes you up briefly – forcing you to open your airway and breathe again. Oftentimes, people do not remember these brief periods even though they may repeat 5 to 30 times and hour. Sometimes you may choke, snort, or gasp during these episodes. This impairs restful sleep.
More About Central Sleep Apnea
Central Sleep apnea is not as common as Obstructive Sleep apnea. When Central Sleep apnea occurs, the brain fails to send proper signals to your breathing muscles, which means you stop breathing for longer periods of time. That makes you wake up short of breath, and it becomes a struggle to stay asleep.
Effects of Sleep Apnea
- Fatigue During the Daytime – Repeated periods when you wake up linked to sleep apnea make restorative sleep nearly impossible, leading to daytime drowsiness and fatigue.
- Concentration – You may have trouble concentrating and fall asleep on the job, while watching television, or driving. If you have sleep apnea, your chances of getting into a car accident significantly increase.
- Depression- You may feel moody or depressed if you suffer from sleep apnea. Teens and children with this sleeping disorder may perform poorly in school or have behavioral issues.
There are many negative health impacts associated with sleep apnea. If you suspect you have any of the common symptoms associated with any form of sleep apnea, seek help with your dentist or other medical professional.
Regular dental check-ups every six months are ideal for your optimal health, so make sure to reach out to a dental health professional at Lee Dental Centers today if you suspect you suffer from sleep apnea. Lee Dental Centers can help you manage sleep apnea by working in tandem with your doctor to help you to screen for sleep apnea during your complete oral exam. If your doctor confirms a diagnosis, Lee Dental Centers can assist with oral appliances that help mitigate and prevent it.