Many people suffer from some form of sleep disorder, including sleep apnea. Fortunately, Buffalo-area dentist Dr. Larry Evola at Forestream Dental offers easy treatments to help get you or your loved one sleeping and living better.
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is defined as the cessation of breathing for 10 seconds or longer five or more times per hour while you sleep. There are three types of sleep apnea:
- central sleep apnea
- obstructive sleep apnea
- and complex sleep apnea (a combination of the two)
Regardless of the type of sleep apnea from which you suffer, if you suffer from this serious condition, you may not even be aware of it. In worst-case scenarios, sleep apnea, left untreated, can cause serious health problems and even death.
People who suffer from heavy snoring and sleep apnea are deprived of necessary oxygen while they sleep. While it may not seem like a serious problem because the person eventually wakes up to take the necessary breath of air, the lack of oxygen to the body can have lasting effects. Sometimes the body can experience as much as a 50% reduction in the amount of oxygen being taken in. This lack of oxygen can lead to many health problems, including an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
Sleep apnea can cause:
- Tiredness and irritability resulting from loss of sleep
- Headaches (which can also be a symptom of TMJ/TMD)
- Sore throat due to mouth drying out during sleep
- Difficulty concentrating and memory problems
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Heart problems
- Short-term memory problems
- Intellectual deterioration
Symptoms and Treatments for Sleep Apnea
Affecting more than 20 million Americans of all ages, sleep apnea is often overlooked, ignored or not even considered when a sufferer complains of any one or a combination of its many symptoms:
- Mood swings
- Problems at work, in school, or in your personal life
- Falling asleep during the day and falling asleep while driving
- Heavy snoring
The most common form of sleep apnea disorder, Obstructive Sleep Apnea, can be treated and successfully managed. Sometimes, to treat sleep apnea, all that is needed is a lifestyle change such as less alcohol and caffeine, weight loss, change in sleeping position, or a change in diet. If these changes do not work, there are other alternatives including wearing an oral appliance while you sleep to position the mouth correctly.
These custom-made oral appliances work in conjunction with or as an alternative to CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) treatment, a commonly prescribed therapy by physicians for sleep apnea. Approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), these oral appliances are worn during sleep and allow continuous, easy breathing for those suffering from Obstructive Sleep Apnea.
Dr. Evola will perform a thorough examination, and then he will sit with you and discuss which treatment options are best suited to your needs. Oral appliance therapy has proven to be highly effective in treating many of our patients. These FDA-approved devices treat snoring and sleep apnea by preventing airway obstruction and allowing you to breathe easily and continuously. Worn in the mouth like an orthodontic appliance during sleep, appliances keep the soft tissue from collapsing and interrupting normal breathing patterns. They can reposition the lower jaw, tongue, soft palate and hyoid bone into a certain position to keep the airway open. Your appliance will be custom made by using a mold to fit your mouth perfectly.
If you would like to learn more about sleep apnea and how it can be treated, please contact neuromuscular dentist, Dr. Lawrence Evola at Forestream Dental serving cosmetic dentistry patients in Lancaster, Orchard Park, Amherst, Williamsville, Buffalo and nearby areas of New York.