Sleep apnea is a surprisingly common condition that often goes undiagnosed for long periods of time. Our Lincoln Park sleep apnea dentists are out to change that—we have seen firsthand how important early detection and treatment can be. Today, we’re talking about the mechanics of sleep apnea, and what you can do to treat it.
Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when a patient’s oral tissues relax during sleep and fall into the airway. The resulting obstruction makes it difficult for the patient to inhale enough oxygen during the night. As a result, the patient’s blood oxygen levels drop during sleep, and the body must momentarily wake itself in order to “restart” the breathing process.
As you would imagine, one of the common complaints of sleep apnea is that the sufferer is chronically fatigued. Sleep apnea disrupts the patient’s healthy sleep cycle, and this can be downright debilitating over time.
There are a number of other health problems connected to sleep apnea including:
- Concentration/memory problems
- Dry mouth
- Disruptive snoring
- Elevated risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and depression
The conventional treatment for sleep apnea is something called the CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine. CPAP requires the patient to wear a mask over the mouth when asleep—the mask provides a continuous flow of air to the patient. Unfortunately, CPAP is bulky and uncomfortable, so many patients are unhappy with this solution.
That is why our dental team offers a CPAP alternative of a comfortable mouth piece for the patient to wear when he or she sleeps. This oral appliance guides the patient’s lower jaw into a health position so as to keep the airway open. We have found that this treatment is effective, and has a much higher patient compliance rate than traditional CPAP.
If you think that you’re dealing with sleep apnea, our Lincoln Park dentists are here to help. Give us a call to schedule a personalized consultation to get started!