Resolve Sleep Apnea, Feel More Rested with Clearwater Dentists’ Solutions
Our Clearwater dental office focuses on whole body health. As such, we focus on preventive and correcting dental problems that affect the health of their whole body. These include problems like gum disease and sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is a serious problem that can increase your risk of problems like heart disease and lead to morning headaches and fatigue. When you have a sleep disorder, you can wake up exhausted even after having eight hours or sleep. Being constantly tired can reduce your work performance and even cause serious problems.
A few days ago I came across a sad story out of New Jersey that involved a deadly train accident. It was a commuter train that wrecked into a terminal. Unfortunately, one person was killed during the accident. It turns out that the train operates suffered from sleep apnea apnea. Now federal regulators want all of their train operators screened for sleep apnea to reduce the risk of these accidents.
That story was terrible, but it didn’t surprise me. I have seen first-hand what sleep apnea can do to patients. Today I want to share some facts about sleep apnea and provide solutions for how you can treat your problems.
How Common is Sleep Apnea and Who is at Risk?
Sleep apnea occurs when the patient stops breathing during sleep. These pauses in breathing can be caused by an obstruction (obstructive sleep apnea) or when the brain fails to send signals to the lungs (central sleep apnea). A common sign of sleep apnea is loud snoring, but not all patients who snore have sleep apnea, and not all sleep apnea patients snore. About 18 millions Americans struggle with sleep apnea, but that number may be higher as so many Americans do not know the signs of sleep apnea.
• Traditionally, men who are 40 are at the greatest risk of sleep, but women and children can struggle with sleep apnea. Additional risk include:
• Enlarged tonsils
• Neck sizes larger than 18 inches in men and 17 inches in women
• Being overweight
• Having a family history of sleep apnea
• Using alcohol or smoking
What Sleep Apnea Can Do to Your Health
I wrote earlier that sleep apnea is a far-reaching problem that can affect your overall health. Because we’re talking about pauses in breathing, it’s possible that untreated sleep apnea can be fatal, in the short-term or long-term. For one, you can stop breathing in your sleep for good. Second, the pauses in breathing and depletion of oxygen levels put stress on your heart. This can cause serious problems like heart disease, hypertension, and increase your risk of having a stroke.
A New Way to Treat Sleep Apnea
While we suspect people have been suffering from sleep apnea for years, sleep dentistry is relatively new. It’s a practice that has evolved over the past few decades. Dentists and sleep physicians first began treating sleep apnea in the 1980s with a CPAP machine. The CPAP is still the gold standard for treating sleep apnea, as the machine continuously pushes air into the lungs, but it does have its disadvantages. A CPAP machine can be cumbersome for patients, and the treatment only has about a 50 percent compliance rate. A CPAP can also be disruptive to your bed partner.
Now, as a dentist, I don’t think seeing a 50 percent compliance rate with my treatment. I want to see that number much higher. I also want my patients to be comfortable. That’s why at Clearwater Dental Associations, we are trained to treat obstructive sleep apnea with a modern, comfortable oral appliance. This oral appliance is custom to each patient and is placed on the lower jawbone. The oral appliance pushes the jawbone open in order to keep the airway open during sleep. Our patients who wear the oral appliance see their sleep apnea symptoms reduced almost immediately. The headaches go away, and the patients begin to feel more rested when they wake up.
Schedule Your Sleep Apnea Screening Today
The first step toward treating your sleep apnea is to determine if you have a problem. You can start that process by calling our office today at 727-373-6628.