Sleep Apnea & Snoring
What is Sleep Apnea?
What Causes Sleep Apnea?
While sleeping, the airway in the throat may become partially or fully blocked, which may be caused by the following:
- Large tongue and tonsils compared to the opening in the windpipe
- Cardiovascular problems
- Throat and tongue muscles that are much more relaxed than normal
- Aging, which may limit the brain’s ability to keep throat muscles stiff during sleep
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
The signs of obstructive and central sleep apnea often overlap, making it difficult to diagnose without proper testing. These symptoms include the following:
- Loud snoring
- Episodes in which you stop breathing during sleep — often noticed by another person
- Gasping for air during sleep
- Awakening with a dry mouth
- Morning headache
- Difficulty staying asleep (insomnia)
- Excessive daytime sleepiness (hypersomnia)
- Difficulty paying attention while awake
Dangers of Untreated Sleep Apnea
The frequent drops in blood-oxygen levels and reduced sleep quality caused by sleep apnea can trigger the release of stress hormones that may cause serious complications. Left untreated, sleep apnea can cause headaches, daytime fatigue and memory problems. More serious complications may include:
- High blood pressure
- Heart arrhythmia
- Heart attack
How Do We Test For Sleep Apnea?
We are able to diagnose sleep apnea by a physical examination, review of family and medical history, and a sleep study. Our dentists at NW Heights Dental may refer you for a sleep study test. A polysomnogram (PSG) is the most common sleep study test for diagnosing sleep apnea. A PSG records brain activity, eye movements, heart rate and blood pressure. It also records the amount of oxygen in the blood and air movement in the lungs during breathing and snoring.
Types Of Sleep Apnea
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common form of sleep apnea. It occurs when the soft tissue at the back of the throat closes, blocking or obstructing the airway.
Central Sleep Apnea
The airway remains open in central sleep apnea, but the brain does not send signals to the muscles involved in breathing.
Mixed Sleep Apnea
Mixed sleep apnea combines aspects of the obstructive and central types of apnea. A common warning sign of sleep apnea is snoring, especially when there is random gasps or lack of breathing in the middle of your sleeping.
Sleep Apnea Treatment Options
ProSomnus Sleep and Snore Device
ProSomnus Sleep and Snore is a medical device used to treat obstructive sleep apnea. This technology allows for individualization, to provide comfort to each patient. These devices are smaller, stronger, and more precise in comparison to prior intraoral sleep apnea devices. Your treatment plan is tailored to you, helping to provide maximum comfort and convenience.
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure
A continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine uses a mask that fits over the mouth and nose. The machine blows air into the throat, and the pressure from the air helps keep the airway open during sleep.
By repositioning the anatomic structure of the mouth and facial bones, surgeons are able to eliminate the tissue that collapses during sleep.
Sleep apnea can also be treated with lifestyle changes such as the following:
- Losing weight
- Cutting down on alcohol consumption
- Quitting smoking