Effective Treatment Options for Sleep Apnea

Effective Treatment Options for Sleep Apnea

In dentistry, it is very common for patients to assume that dental care only concerns the health of teeth. This idea is not farfetched, having that teeth make a big part of the oral cavity. However, there is so much more than a dentist is capable of, as is illustrated in general dentistry. Several dental works couple up to create the world of dentistry.

Ideally, when a dentist is not caring for your teeth and gum tissue, he/she is looking for into other areas of your overall health. A big part of this examination helps in the diagnosis of sleeping disorders, particularly sleep apnea. Did you know that snoring is not necessarily something to be taken lightly? Read on to find out more about it and the treatment options available.

What Is Sleep Apnea?

It is a sleeping disorder that causes patients to experience shortness of breath while they sleep. The shortness of breath lasts between a few seconds to a minute. Technically, patients hardly realize they have a problem unless the condition progresses and worsens.

Many patients that suffer from sleep apnea are not aware of their condition. It is hard to detect the condition unless the symptoms are very severe. One of the give-away signs of this disorder is usually snoring at night. While snoring may be something your friends and family tease you for, it could be a serious indicator of a health problem.

More About Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea comes in many forms, ranging from mild obstructive sleep apnea to chronic sleep apnea. The longer the periods of shortness of breath, the more severe the condition is. Diagnosing this can be a hard thing to accomplish, especially where the patient is oblivious of the sleeping patterns.

Some of the ways you can find out whether you have this sleeping disorder are by considering the following symptoms:

  • Restlessness during sleep
  • Sweating a lot at night
  • Snoring
  • Sleeping more during the day
  • Feelings of fatigue and tiredness
  • Mood swings and aggressive behavior

While there is no sure sign that you have sleep apnea, paying attention to your sleeping habits can help detect the problem. Consider the above-mentioned factors, relative to the quality of sleep you get during the night. If you are still unsure about it, there is no better time to reach out to a dentist.

Diagnosis of Sleep Apnea

To detect whether or not you have this disorder, your dentist will first ask you a couple of questions. Other than that, some other diagnostic tests for sleep apnea include:

  • Polysomnography – this test carefully monitors the functions of your heart, lung, and brain, relative to the breathing patterns when you sleep.
  • Home sleep apnea testing – it is a similar test to Polysomnography but is customized for at-home testing. The doctor will guide you on how to use the device to monitor the behavior of different parts of your body while you sleep.

Treatment Options For Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea affects patients differently. The obstruction of your airways causing difficulty in breathing may be mild, and be significant for other patients. Thanks to these variations, the treatment options differ, depending on the severity of the condition.

The treatment options for sleep apnea range between invasive options, to simple non-invasive procedures and lifestyle alterations. They include the following:

  • Lifestyle changes
  • Quit smoking and all tobacco usage
  • Exercise frequently to improve blood and oxygen flow in your body.
  • Work to lose weight
  • Changing your sleeping position
  • Get a prescription for allergies
  • Use nasal decongestants

Oral devices – your dentist or sleep expert might recommend the use of oral devices to help with breathability at night. This involves using a special mouthguard made for treating sleep apnea. It helps keep your airway open by holding your jaw in a particular position as you sleep.

  • Surgical procedures – usually used for severe cases of sleep apnea away.
    • Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) – it is a procedure for surgically removing tissue in the back of your mouth, which might be obstructing your airway.
    • Jaw surgery – it involves surgically shifting the position of the upper and lower jaw to enlarge the space that is between your soft palate and tongue.
    • Implants – they are inserted to hold the soft palate in place, thus reducing the collapsing of muscles during breathing at night.
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