Comprehensive Aesthetic and Implant Dentistry
620 Delp Road, Lancaster, PA 17601
Snoring and Sleep Apnea
Sleep is vital to good health and well-being; however, restorative sleep can be difficult to achieve for the 18 million Americans diagnosed with sleep disorders. That number is considered low because many Americans either don’t know or don’t pursue treatment for potential sleep disorders. This means that sleep problems are widespread and can be caused by various factors.
Causes of Sleep Apnea
A common cause of poor sleep is snoring. Snoring is the noise created by the vibration of certain parts of the airway, usually the soft palate and uvula. The noise can interfere with sleep patterns of the person who snores and his or her loved ones, making deep restorative sleep virtually impossible.
Another condition that prevents restorative sleep is sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is the cessation of normal breathing during the night. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is usually caused by collapse of the throat muscles during sleep. It can happen for short or long periods and many times per hour. Oxygen does not enter the individual’s bloodstream as it should. As his or her brain detects the lack of oxygen, it awakens the person to resume breathing. The brief waking moments are usually not remembered; however, they repeat throughout the night. The constant sleep-wake cycle, along with oxygen deprivation, prevents restful sleep from occurring.
Treatment for snoring and sleep apnea can be as simple as creating healthy habits such as losing weight, kicking the smoking habit, refraining from alcohol and sedative medications, or changing the sleep position to the side versus the back.
In some cases these measures may not be effective, so further diagnosis requires a sleep study with a qualified physician specializing in sleep. Successful treatment of sleep apnea involves keeping the airway open either with a Constant Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine or with a custom designed and fitted oral appliance.
There are advantages and disadvantages of each course of treatment. The CPAP machine may be cumbersome or difficult to tolerate. Lifestyle factors may influence treatment, too, particularly if the individual is a frequent traveler. In that situation, and in numerous others, an oral appliance may be preferred.
We Can Help
Patterson/Votilla Dentistry’s expert for sleep apnea is Dr. Matt Patterson. Dr. Patterson has undergone rigorous training in dental sleep medicine from The Pankey Institute of Key Biscayne, Florida. The Pankey Institute is the premier post-doctoral dental training school in the United States. With his extensive training and experience, Dr. Patterson provides superior care for his sleep apnea patients.
Contact us today to learn more.
Finish each day before you begin the next, and interpose a solid wall of sleep between the two. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
FAQs about Snoring and Sleep Apnea
If a person snores does that mean he or she has sleep apnea?
Though snoring is a common symptom of sleep apnea patients, it is not always linked to sleep apnea. General health or sinus issues can cause snoring. To determine if persistent snoring is related to sleep apnea, the individual must undergo a sleep study with a qualified physician.
What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?
Snoring, insomnia, daytime fatigue, morning headaches, and irritability are symptoms of sleep apnea.
Is sleep apnea hereditary
Just as physical attributes such as height and body type are hereditary, sleep apnea can also be hereditary because a person’s craniofacial complex, the composition of his or her head; face, skull and oral cavities, can be similar among family members.
Can children suffer from sleep apnea?
While sleep apnea is largely viewed as an adult disorder, it can affect children. They may experience the same symptoms as adults; however, child patients can also suffer from mood disorders, hyperactivity (ADHD), and bedwetting.
What happens if sleep apnea is not treated?
Left untreated, sleep apnea can be fatal. Because the body is deprived of oxygen, sleep apnea can contribute to hypertension and irregular heart rhythms. It also can cause strokes, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. However, sleep apnea is treatable and fatalities can be prevented if the patient seeks treatment.
How do I know whether or not I have sleep apnea?
The only way to be sure is to have a polysomnogram, or sleep study. A sleep physician makes the diagnosis depending on the results of your study. We can refer you to a sleep physician when appropriate.
Some signs to look for:
-Falling asleep during the day
-Extreme daytime drowsiness
-Your spouse reports hearing you stop breathing, gasp or choke during the night.
-A Body Mass Index over 35 (calculate yours in the widget below)