Treating Sleep Apnea
What is sleep apnea?
This common disorder affects breathing patterns during sleep. Obstructive sleep apnea, the most common sleep-related breathing disorder, causes apneas, or pauses in breathing, due to the airway collapsing. These apneas can last from several seconds to several minutes. Usually, normal breathing begins again accompanied by a gasping or choking noise. Common symptoms of sleep apnea include loud snoring (snoring occurs from the air being unable to flow through the collapsed airway), mood swings or irritability during the day, and dozing off while watching TV, reading, or performing other daily activities.
What are the dangers of sleep apnea?
Since the disruptions in breathing affect the quality of sleep, most sleep apnea sufferers complain of excessive daytime drowsiness or morning headaches. Untreated sleep apnea can also cause more serious health problems including chronic sleepiness, strokes, high blood pressure, heart attacks, depression, diabetes, and other conditions.
Who is at risk for sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is more common in men than women. It occurs mostly in older individuals. Obesity is a leading cause of sleep apnea, and it can often be hereditary, putting those with a family history of the disease at a higher risk. Alcohol, the use of sedatives, and smoking also contribute to the condition.
How can a trained dentist help?
A common form of treatment for sleep apnea is a continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP, machine. A mask that covers the nose and mouth sends a soft stream of air into the airway to keep it open, allowing normal breathing. Most users of a CPAP machine notice immediate results. For individuals who cannot tolerate (or do not want) CPAP, Oral Appliance Therapy is a great option! In addition, with advanced laser training, Dr. Burman can provide Nightlase therapy to tighten the soft tissues of the posterior oral cavity to open the airway during sleep. Dr. Burman, a Diplomate of the American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine, has demonstrated the skills and knowledge necessary for the delivery of excellent patient care in the areas of obstructive sleep apnea, primary snoring and oral appliance therapy. “The ABDSM believes higher standards for dental sleep medicine translates into better care for patients and greater accountability. The ABDSM credential is widely recognized as the gold standard for excellence in dental sleep medicine.”