Sleep Apnea Treatment

Do you find yourself dozing off during the day or waking with a sore throat and a headache? Are you having difficulty concentrating or find yourself suddenly moody? Does your partner complain about your snoring? You may need to be evaluated for sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea is a serious medical concern. This condition actually causes you to stop breathing while you are sleeping. Your brain then signals your body to rouse slightly so that you can resume breathing, leading to broken sleep and a number of other negative health effects.

The Effects of Sleep Apnea

For people who suffer from sleep apnea, life can quickly become miserable. Not only do you feel fatigued throughout the day, but your performance at work may suffer as well. Driving may become dangerous since you are prone to falling asleep throughout the day. A few of the classic signs of sleep apnea are loud snoring, cessation of breathing, and waking up gasping for air during sleep.

Internally, dangerous changes are taking place as well. High blood pressure is a common result of sleep apnea, which leads directly to an increased risk of a heart attack or stroke. Since obesity is often a risk factor for developing obstructive sleep apnea, these people may be doubly affected.

Treating Obstructive Sleep Apnea

The first-line treatment for most sleep apnea patients is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy. This therapy involves wearing a mask while you sleep, which is connected to a machine that blows air into your nose and mouth constantly to keep your airway open so you don’t stop breathing. This therapy is often quite effective.

So what does a dentist have to do with treating sleep apnea?

Unfortunately, while CPAP therapy is very effective in treating sleep apnea, compliance can be a problem. About 50% of people with sleep apnea are unable to tolerate therapy with CPAP. They may not be able to sleep comfortably with the mask over their face, or the noise from the machine may disturb them or their partner. Whatever the reason, another form of therapy can help these patients rest easy and get their lives back.

Dr. Hivick has spent considerable time learning the role that a dentist can play in helping to treat obstructive sleep apnea. If you have failed CPAP therapy or have no desire to try it, you may be a candidate for an oral appliance that repositions the lower jaw to increase your airway.

With oral appliance therapy, patients can reduce the severity of obstructive sleep apnea and improve their quality of life. At Chagrin Family Dental, we have a number of devices we recommend including the Myerson EMA appliance, the TAP appliance, and appliances from Somnodent. Your appliance will be perfectly customized to fit your mouth and meet your individual and unique needs.

If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea or if you suspect that you might have sleep apnea, give Chagrin Family Dental a call today. Dr. Hivick will work with your medical provider to get you properly diagnosed and recommend an appropriate appliance to help you get the quality rest you need and deserve.