Sleep Apnea: An Overview
Sleep apnea is a common and complex health condition affecting millions of Americans. This condition can cause oral and systemic health complications that can impact the quality of life. People with sleep apnea cannot enjoy a full restful night of sleep.
If you wake suddenly gasping for air, wake with chronic headaches, have trouble focusing during the day, fall asleep during the day, or snore loudly, you may be experiencing this type of sleep disorder. Chronic fatigue, depression, and irritability are also symptoms. In addition to treating sleep apnea, the Metropolitan Center For Complete Dentistry treats many dental concerns in Summit, New Jersey.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Snoring by itself is generally not a health problem, but it can be a sign of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, 50% of people who snore loudly have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
It is typically caused by an obstruction of the upper airway during sleep resulting from the collapse of soft tissues at the back of the throat. The airway becomes blocked, and patients are momentarily unable to breathe, cutting oxygen off vital organs.
If you or someone you know snores loudly, you might not consider visiting the dentist for treatment. Summit, NJ, area dentist, Dr. Raj Upadya, practices what is known as “complete dentistry”, considering the patient as a whole to treat underlying problems and conditions associated with the mouth, teeth, and TMJ.
The position of the jaws and related structures influences the development of sleep apnea, making the dentist a key professional in the diagnosis and treatment of select cases. Dr. Upadya has advanced training in treating diagnosed sleep disorders.
If necessary, Dr. Upadya will work with your physician to coordinate a diagnostic sleep study.
There is no single cause for snoring or sleep apnea. Anyone could develop it however, there are several risk factors, including:
- Being overweight or obese
- Family history of OSA
- Narrow airway or small lower jaw
- Constant nasal congestion
- Post-menopausal women
- Drinking alcohol
- Being a male over 40, especially if you have a large neck circumference
Snoring and OSA can be made worse by drinking, smoking, or using sedatives. Untreated sleep apnea in adults could lead to an increased risk of developing heart disease, high blood pressure due to drops in the blood oxygen level, type 2 diabetes, and strokes.
If left untreated, the higher risk of developing larger health problems can make existing medical conditions harder to manage.
Sleep Apnea: What to Expect
Treating Sleep Apnea and Snoring
There are many treatments available for snoring and sleep apnea, but the Metropolitan Center for Complete Dentistry in the Summit, NJ area focuses on oral appliance therapy. These special, customized dental devices fit comfortably in the mouth. They are worn while you sleep to keep the airway open and prevent snoring and other symptoms.
Most patients will use their oral appliance nightly, the key to reducing the health risks associated with sleep apnea. Our oral appliances include customized splints, mouth guards, and night guards. Oral appliances work by:
- Repositioning the lower jaw, tongue, soft palate, or uvula
- Stabilizing the lower jaw and tongue
- Increasing the muscle tone of the tongue
Schedule a Dental Exam & Consultation
Learn about Snoring and Sleep Apnea Treatment at the Metropolitan Center for Complete Dentistry. Our office is conveniently located in the East Hanover, NJ, and Summit, NJ. Dr. Raj Upadya gladly welcomes new patients and out-of-town patients.