Do I Have Sleep Apnea & How Do I Treat It?

Blonde woman sleeps fitfully in Westwood, KS, because she has obstructive sleep apnea

An estimated 18 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea, a chronic sleep disorder that negatively affects your energy level and your overall health.

In this blog post, we take a look at the common warning signs of sleep apnea, examine its impact on your oral and overall health, and outline some of the treatment options we offer at Sullivan Family Dental.

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a chronic sleep disorder that is characterized by bouts of interrupted breathing while you sleep. For some patients, that means experiencing frequent periods of time when their breathing completely stops while they sleep. For others, it can mean experiencing long periods of very shallow breathing.

There are different types of sleep apnea: obstructive, central, and mixed. Obstructive sleep apnea is more common and occurs when the muscles in the back of your throat relax when they are supposed to be constricted. Central sleep apnea is a more severe and rare form of sleep apnea and occurs when your brain is unable to send the proper signals to the muscles that control your breathing. Mixed is a combination of the two former.

Warning Signs of Sleep Apnea

  • Feeling fatigued throughout the day
  • Frequently waking up in the middle of the night
  • Having trouble sleeping
  • Memory loss
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Chronic, loud snoring
  • Frequent headaches or migraines
  • Dry mouth
  • Halitosis (chronic bad breath)

Sleep is extremely important for your overall health. Sleep apnea disrupts your sleep cycle and prevents you from entering deep sleep, the period of the sleep cycle that is most restorative for your mind and body. As a result, sleep apnea puts you at risk for developing other issues down the line, including heart disease, diabetes, liver disease, anxiety, and depression. It also puts you at a higher risk for developing gum disease, tooth decay, and tooth loss since prolonged mouth breathing can cause dry mouth.

Treatment for Sleep Apnea in Westwood, KS

Sullivan Family Dental offers obstructive sleep apnea treatment in Westwood, KS. We start with WatchPAT, a take-home sleep study that helps us properly diagnose and test for obstructive sleep apnea. This will help determine whether or not you have sleep apnea and are eligible for treatment. Once we have confirmation that you do have sleep apnea, we can move forward with treatment options.

Some sleep apnea treatment options include CPAP therapy, which uses a breathing machine to deliver a steady amount of air to your lungs as you sleep, and oral appliance therapy, which helps position your mouth as you sleep to keep your airway clear.

If you think you have sleep apnea, you don’t have to sleep in discomfort or put your health at risk any longer. Sullivan Family Dental would be thrilled to work with you! Contact us to schedule an appointment today. Be sure to check out our financial page to learn more about how we make our treatments affordable at our dental office in Westwood, KS.