Sleep Apnea FAQ
Sleep apnea is a potentially life-threatening disorder that affects roughly 22 million Americans. It is estimated that as much as 80 percent of these cases, from moderate to severe, are undiagnosed. Untreated sleep apnea can have drastic consequences on your oral, bodily, and mental health.
At Toomin & Bieber Aesthetic Comprehensive Dentistry, we believe that patient education is the cornerstone of good health. Come into our Burbank, CA office and bring your additional questions and concerns about sleep apnea.
At the very least, understanding the signs, symptoms, and dangers of sleep apnea can improve your overall quality of life. At the very most, it can save your life!
What Are the Types of Sleep Apnea?
There are three major types of sleep apnea: obstructive, central, and complex.
Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the throat muscles, uvula, soft palate, or tongue relax and block your airway.
Central sleep apnea is the result of failed communication between your brain and the muscles that control breathing.
Complex, or treatment-emergent sleep apnea, occurs after the prolonged use of CPAP, resulting in both central and obstructive sleep apnea.
Am I at Risk for Sleep Apnea?
Risk factors for obstructive and central sleep apnea include:
|•||Excess weight (fat deposits around the upper airway)
|•||Thicker neck circumference
|•||A narrow throat or airway, sometimes due to enlarged tonsils or adenoids
|•||Being an older male adult
|•||Genetics, or a family history of the disorder
|•||Smoking or tobacco use
|•||The use of sedatives, tranquilizers, and other medications that suppress the respiratory system
|•||Heavy alcohol consumption
|•||Strokes and heart disorders|
What Happens When Sleep Apnea Remains Untreated?
Unfortunately, the signs and symptoms of sleep apnea are often ignored, because they take place while the person is unconscious.
When sleep apnea goes untreated, many issues can occur, from minor problems to severe complication. The most common complications of untreated sleep apnea include:
|•||Significant daytime fatigue, drowsiness, and irritability. Some people with sleep apnea can have difficulty concentrating and become moody or depressed.
|•||Sleep deprived partners. Loud snoring can keep your partner awake. A sleep partner is usually the first person to report symptoms.
|•||Cardiovascular issues. A sudden drop in blood oxygen levels can increase your blood pressure and strain your cardiovascular system. This puts you at a greater risk of heart attack, stroke, and atrial fibrillation.
|•||Increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
|•||Complications with surgery and medications. Sleep apnea can make it more difficult to administer sedation, such as general anesthesia, which is usually required during a major surgery. Before any surgery or prescription, be sure to tell your doctor you suffer from sleep apnea.
|•||Liver scarring or abnormal liver function.|
How Do We Treat Sleep Apnea?
As dentists, Lawrence Toomin, DDS and Mark Bieber, DDS primarily treat obstructive sleep apnea, rather than central.
Obstructive sleep apnea can often be treated using an oral appliance, which keeps the lower jaw in a more forward position. By keeping the jaw in the proper position, we can help you maintain a more open airway during sleep.
Your oral appliance will be fabricated using an impression of your teeth and gums. A custom-fit appliance, unlike a store-bought guard, is more comfortable and effective.
If an oral appliance proves unsuccessful, you may be in need of additional treatment like the use of CPAP, or continuous positive airway pressure.
Severe instances of sleep apnea may even require surgical intervention.
Schedule a Consultation With Your Burbank, CA Dentists!
If you think you may suffer from sleep apnea, immediate treatment can help prevent additional complications. Call (818) 748-9998 to schedule an appointment today!