What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is frustrating, potentially dangerous disorder characterized by shallow breathing or pauses in breathing during sleep. Although many people suffer from sleep apnea, it is very difficult to know if you have it. During sleep, sleep apnea can cause a person’s breathing to pause for a few seconds or even a few minutes, more than five times in an hour. These pauses are referred to as apneas, while shallow breathing is referred to as hypopnea. If you’ve ever held your breath, you know that it’s almost impossible to maintain for more than a minute or so. This is because of the body’s need to release carbon dioxide and intake oxygen. When someone suffers from sleep apnea, their breathing pattern allows carbon dioxide to build up in the bloodstream, signaling the brain to wake up and breathe in oxygen. The person will then breathe normally until oxygen is restores, and then fall back asleep. Because of this pattern, people with sleep apnea experience unrestorative sleep, and wake up feeling exhausted and fatigued. Generally, sleep apnea is diagnosed by an overnight sleep test, where their breathing is monitored. The two main forms of sleep apnea are central sleep apnea (CSA) and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Central sleep apnea is characterized by a lack of respiratory effort, while obstructive sleep apnea is a result of a physical block to airflow during sleep, regardless of respiratory effort. Obstructive sleep apnea is also associated with snoring. Studies show that millions of people in the United States suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, although there may be even more that are unaware that they suffer with this condition. Symptoms can be present for years without being brought to attention, leading people to develop sleep habits that result in daytime fatigue and sleepiness without relief. Sleep apnea can occur in both children and adults, resulting in problems in alertness, slow reaction time, exhaustion, vision problems, and more. It has even been associated with a higher risk for driving accidents and even accidents at work. This can lead to moodiness, high blood pressure, lack of motivation, and anger and frustration. Another symptom associate with obstructive sleep apnea is sleep paralysis, which can quite literally scare people into insomnia. All of these symptoms and results of obstructive sleep apnea can lead to depression, and if not treated, the condition can become very severe; even resulting in death due to a lack of oxygen during sleep.
We Can Help You Overcome Sleep Apnea!
If you’re suffering from sleep apnea or believe that you may be, you could be at risk for dangerous symptoms and side effects such as high blood pressure, memory loss, difficulty concentrating, unrestorative sleep, depression, and even a lack of adequate oxygen during sleep. Drs. Pross, Kanter, and Tindell at North Pointe Dental can help you get lasting relief from sleep apnea without invasive surgery. We offer removable treatments of obstructive sleep apnea, such as special dental appliances that can be worn at night to help airways remain open. These can prevent your tongue from resting on the airway, and adjust the jaw to resolve positioning issues. For cases with more complexity, we will work in conjunction with your physician or other specialists, like an Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor, in order to ensure that your apnea is accurately diagnosed and treated. If you’re suffering from another type of sleep apnea, such as central sleep apnea, we can help you find a specialist who will fit your needs.
In a few rare cases, the positioning of the jaw or resting tongue may not be the cause of your obstructive sleep apnea. If this is the case, surgery might be required to remove excess tissue that is obstructing your airways during sleep. Our team will ensure that your sleep apnea is properly diagnosed, so that we can work with you to tackle the side effects and symptoms you are suffering with.
At North Pointe Dental, our Tampa cosmetic dentistry and general dentistry team has the knowledge and experience to carry out most treatments and restorations, without needing to refer. We’ve been providing service that exceeds expectations for decades, putting the health, safety, and happiness of our patients above all else. If you think you might be suffering from sleep apnea, it is important to seek help as soon as you are able to. Call our office today to schedule a consultation with our team today, to develop a treatment plan that fits perfectly for your needs.