Sleep apnea affects millions of Americans. It is a serious sleep disorder that causes multiple pauses in breathing as you sleep. These moments of breathing cessation prevent restful sleep and increase the risk of serious health problems. At The Smile Centre, our experienced dentists provide treatment for mild to moderate sleep apnea.
To arrange your sleep apnea consultation, contact us today. If you live in the Sarasota area of Florida, contact our Palm Aire location online or at 941-351-4468 or our South Trail office at 941-366-3636. If you live in or around Venice, Florida, please contact us online or at 941-497-5451. With three convenient locations, we serve patients from in and around Sarasota, Venice and Bradenton, Florida.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
There are two types of sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is more common. It is caused by blockage in the airway, which occurs when throat tissues or the tongue relax too far into the airway. Central sleep apnea is less common and is caused by your brain failing to signal your breathing muscles while you sleep. Obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA, is the form treated by our dentists.
When an OSA episode occurs, your airway is blocked off from the flow of oxygen. You will instinctively wake up so that your throat muscles tighten and unblock your airway. A partner may hear you gasp or make a choking noise as you awaken. These episodes in which you aren't breathing can occur hundreds of times a night. It makes it impossible to get the rest you need.
Sleep apnea can be really difficult to recognize in yourself. Typically, you won't be aware of the multiple awakenings during the night. However, if you feel excessively tired all of the time and a family member has noticed loud snoring, choking or gasping while you sleep, you may suffer from this common sleep disorder. Symptoms of sleep apnea include:
- Chronic headaches
- Extreme drowsiness during the day
- Concentration problems
- Impaired memory
- Irritability, depression, anxiety or other mood changes
- Falling asleep at work, while driving or at other times during your day
- Dry mouth upon waking
If you think you may have sleep apnea, please call The Smile Centre to schedule an evaluation.
Snoring and Sleep Apnea
When sleep apnea causes snoring, the snoring is caused by the vibration of the collapsed throat tissues as air passes by them. The greater the airway blockage, the louder the snoring, although snoring will cease if the airway becomes completely blocked. Your body essentially panics when this cessation of breathing occurs, causing you to awaken slightly from sleep.
Not all people who snore have sleep apnea, but most sleep apnea sufferers snore. At The Smile Centre, our custom oral appliances prevent episodes of snoring and breathing cessation, so that you can get the rest you so desperately need.
The Effect on Your Health and Wellness
Sleep apnea reduces the flow of oxygen to your brain, and prevents your body and brain from getting the rest needed to function well. Over time, OSA can have a serious effect on your wellness. The repeated drops in blood oxygen level causes an increase in stress hormones, which raises your heart rate and can lead to cardiovascular problems. OSA increases the risk of serious health problems, such as:
- Heart attack
- Heart failure
- High blood pressure
- Chronic headaches
- Decreased sex drive
- Daytime fatigue that can make driving dangerous
Sleep apnea can also affect the way your body uses and stores energy. Because of these changes, sleep apnea has been linked to diabetes and obesity.
The degree to which OSA can affect all areas of your life is significant. Sleep apnea can cause drowsiness and poor performance while you are working. It may begin to affect your standing at your workplace. You may also be dangerously drowsy while you drive, which could be so extreme as to cause you to fall asleep behind the wheel. Not only that, but you may be experiencing severe mood effects, including depression and anxiety. Get treatment now to reverse the way sleep apnea has affected your life. Getting good sleep is important to your happiness and health.
Sleep Apnea Risk Factors
Certain factors increase your risk for developing sleep apnea:
- Being male
- Large neck size
- Larger tonsils or tongue than normal
- Being overweight (according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, half of sleep apnea sufferers are overweight)
- Alcohol use
- Over age 40
- Family history of sleep apnea
It's entirely possible to have none of these risk factors and still suffer from sleep apnea. As part of your consultation at The Smile Centre, we will review your health and family history, as well as the presence of any risk factors, to determine if you can benefit from sleep apnea treatment.
Schedule Your Sleep Apnea Consultation Today
If you live in Sarasota, Venice or Bradenton, Florida and want to learn more about sleep apnea and how our dentists can help, contact The Smile Centre today to schedule a confidential consultation. If you live in the Sarasota area of Florida, contact our Palm Aire location online or at 941-351-4468 or our South Trail office at 941-366-3636. If you live in or around Venice, Florida, please contact us online or at 941-497-5451.