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Sleep Apnea Causes, Symptoms, Treatment
Consult Sleep Apnea Dentist at Impact Dental Care in our Lorton, Stafford, or Woodbridge office!
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep Apnea is a disorder in which breathing is repeatedly interrupted during sleep. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the muscles in the back of the throat fail to keep the airway open, despite efforts to breathe. Chronic snoring is a strong indicator of sleep apnea and should be evaluated by a health professional.
Sleep Apnea can be of two types:
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea: When the muscles in the back of the throat fail to keep the airway open, despite efforts to breathe.
- Central Sleep Apnea: When the brain fails to properly control breathing during sleep.
Obstructive sleep apnea is more common than central sleep apnea.
Effects of Sleep Apnea
Hypertension, heart disease, mood, and memory problems are some of the effects associated with sleep apnea. Drowsy driving is another common effect of sleep apnea. Sleep Apnea can cause fragmented sleep and low blood oxygen levels which lead to the above-mentioned problems.
Causes of Sleep Apnea
Some of the factors that have been related to sleep apnea are:
- Small upper airway
- Large tongue, tonsils or uvula
- Being overweight
- Small jaw or a large overbite
- Large neck size (more than 17 inches in men, more than 16 inches in women)
- Smoking and Alcohol use
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
Due to sleep deprivation and lack of oxygen supply during sleep, a wide range of other symptoms can be seen such as:
- Chronic snoring
- Difficulty Concentrating
- Depression and Irritability
- Sexual dysfunction
- Memory difficulties
- Falling asleep while at work
- High blood pressure
- Heart Disease
Treatment for Sleep Apnea
If you suspect that you are suffering from sleep apnea, please consult your doctor or dentist and see if you could get a sleep study done.
Sleep Study is the most common method to diagnose sleep apnea. It requires overnight stay at the sleep center, where you are monitored for various functions during your sleep.
CPAP, continuous positive airway pressure device is the most common method used to treat sleep apnea.CPAP is a mask worn over your nose and mouth that gently blows air to keep your airway open during the sleep.
Dental Appliance is another common method of treating sleep apnea. Your dentist at Impact Dental Care Lorton will take your impression by scanning your teeth with a scanner and build you a high-quality dental appliance that is customized to your mouth. You will be given directions by your dentist on how to use your mouth guard at night while you are asleep. The device snaps over the upper and lower dental arches and makes it possible for the lower jaw to be eased forward. This will help your airway to remain open during the sleep.