With at least 25 million adults in the U.S affected by sleep apnea, according to the National Healthy Sleep Awareness Project, this condition continues to become a major health concern for many people across the country. There are several health concerns related to sleep apnea, including high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and depression.
With that being said, sleep apnea is not an issue to take lightly. Sleep apnea refers to the temporary cessation of breathing that occurs while an individual is sleeping. In fact, apnea comes from the Greek word, apnoia, which literally translates to “breathless.” This condition is dangerous for obvious reasons, but it can be especially serious because those affected by it often don’t know.
So, what does this have to do with dentistry? Depending on the type of sleep apnea you suffer from, a dental appliance may be the best solution for your case. To explain more on this subject, Palm Harbor dentist, Dr. Paul Caputo gives a brief overview of sleep apnea and how a dental appliance can help your condition.
Like we said before, sleep apnea is a serious condition that needs to be addressed as soon as possible. Treatment for your particular case will vary depending on the type of sleep apnea you suffer from. Sleep apnea can be divided into three different types, which include:
Central Sleep Apnea:This type of sleep apnea occurs when the brain fails to send the signal to the muscles responsible for breathing. Central sleep apnea is far less common than obstructive sleep apnea and only accounts for approximately 20% of sleep apnea cases. This particular type of sleep apnea will have a different treatment plan than obstructive sleep apnea because it can often be caused by conditions related to the brainstem.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea:Obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA, is usually the type of apnea we first think of. This type of sleep apnea occurs due to partial or complete blockage of the airwaves while an individual is sleeping. When breathing is restricted, the brain sends the signal to the body and the individual will gasp, choke or snort to breathe in. After they take a breath, the individual will continue normal breathing and their brain will return to sleep. The number of instances this occurs will largely depend on the severity of their sleep apnea.
Complex or Mixed Sleep Apnea: As the name implies, mixed sleep apnea involves a combination of the failed signals of central sleep apnea and the obstructed air paths of OSA. This combination of obstructive and central sleep apnea is especially dangerous for patients and can often be more difficult to treat.
Do you wake up in the middle or the night out of breath? As we mentioned before, sleep apnea sufferers can go months or even years before they realize their conditions. That is why it’s imperative to keep an eye on your symptoms. Some of the most common symptoms of sleep apnea include:
In many obstructive sleep apnea cases, a dental appliance can be the best solution. These appliances look similar to a mouth guard and help to alter the resting position of the lower jaw. Obstruction occurs when the tongue and soft tissue block the airway due to the alignment of the mandible.
We’ve heard several of our patients ask, “Are over-the-counter devices a good solution?” In truth, many over-the-counter devices are simply not a great option because they do not properly fit patients. If the device fits poorly, patients can either experience tooth or jaw pain or notice no changes in their case.
Treatment with Dr. Caputo begins with a consultation where he reviews a patient’s specific symptoms, medical history, and more. After learning more about a patient’s case, Dr. Caputo will determine if an oral device will be the option for treatment. If the condition can be treated with an oral appliance, Caputo will custom-make a device to address the cause of your sleep apnea.
Is sleep apnea affecting your overall well-being? It’s important to address this condition as soon as possible! An oral appliance may be the perfect solution for your sleep apnea case. To find out more about treatment, contact our office in Palm Harbor, FL today!
Paul L. Caputo, DDS3490 E Lake Rd S Suite A