Sleep Apnea Treatment In Washington, DC
You know it instinctively: A good night's sleep is essential for good health. It makes you feel rested and ready to take on the world. Yet many people don't get the sleep they need. Sometimes this is related to sleep-related breathing disorders (SRBD) — their own, or those experienced by their sleeping partners. Sleep apnea is a common SRBD that can wreak havoc on your sleep quality and health overall.
City Dental DC in Washington, DC provides treatment for sleep apnea in the form of custom made oral appliances. If you think you may have sleep apnea, contact our office to learn more about the treatment we offer and schedule an appointment. Read on to learn more about sleep apnea and sleep related breathing disorders.
Sleep Apnea & Snoring
SRBD is characterized by recurrent episodes of reduced or interrupted respiratory airflow. This is caused by soft tissues near the back of the throat collapsing during sleep so that they partially close off the windpipe. These tissues — the tongue, for example — can vibrate as air passes by, causing snoring. Snoring is often worsened sleeping on one's back because this encourages the lower jaw to slip back, which in turn pushes the tongue in front of the airway.
Loud snoring often disturbs the person in the bed who isn't the one doing it, robbing him or her of vital sleep. The snorer, on the other hand, may seem to be slumbering peacefully, but this might not actually be the case. Chronic loud snoring is a common symptom of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA; “a” – without; “pnea” – breath), which occurs when the upper airway is blocked to the point of causing significant airflow disruption, or even no airflow whatsoever for 10 seconds or more. This can be dangerous as reduced airflow into the lungs lowers blood-oxygen levels.
A person with sleep apnea may wake 50 or more times per hour — that's almost once a minute! — without having any memory of it. These awakenings, called micro-arousals, last just long enough to restore muscle tone to the airway so the individual can breathe. Unfortunately, all those micro-arousals preclude deep and restful sleep.
Common Symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a serious matter as it can lead to heart problems and other health issues. It's possible you may have OSA if you snore and also suffer from any of the following:
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Poor memory/confusion
- Accident proneness
- Night sweats
- Morning headaches
- High blood pressure
How Your Dentist In Washington, DC Can Help
By now you're probably wondering, what does my dentist have to do with all this? Here's the connection: snoring and sleep apnea can sometimes be treated with an oral appliance that's designed to hold the lower jaw forward during sleep. This repositioning of the jaw moves the tongue away from the back of the throat, reducing the potential for obstruction.
The oral appliance is similar to a mouth guard and is backed by a great deal of scientific evidence. It's a good remedy to try before moving on to more complicated breathing devices like a CPAP machine or surgery to remove excess tissues in the throat. Most patients prefer oral appliances over the traditional and more cumbersome CPAP machine. They find them much more comfortable and easier to clean.
Only a dentist can fabricate, fit, adjust, monitor, and treat complications with oral appliance therapy. So if you or a loved one is experiencing any combination of the signs and symptoms mentioned above, a consultation with one of our professionals here at City Dental DC is a good idea.