Snoring can be more than an annoyance. It is often a sign of a dangerous condition called sleep apnea, which is often undiagnosed and left untreated. People who have sleep apnea are usually not aware of it. Sleep apnea can cause fatigue, irritability, night-time restlessness, and memory problems. It can also lead to more serious health problems, including stroke and heart attack. Fortunately, Integrated Dental Aesthetics in the West Milford, New Jersey area offers effective non-surgical dental sleep apnea treatment.
In obstructive sleep apnea, you stop breathing in your sleep because your airway becomes blocked or partially blocked. Oxygen levels drop and the brain registers this as a life-threatening emergency, so you wake up. Typically, you do not wake up fully enough to remember it–but just enough to move around and start breathing again. This still disrupts your sleep to the point that you do not get proper rest. Once you start breathing again, you go back to sleep. This can happen as often as 90 times an hour.
Snoring is often a symptom of sleep apnea. The sleep deprivation it causes is bad enough, but sleep apnea can also cause prolonged oxygen deprivation with long-term health consequences.
Sleep Apnea Health Risks
Sleep deprivation caused by sleep apnea can significantly reduce your quality of life causing irritability, brain fog, memory loss, drop in productivity at work, and a very real increased risk of car accidents and other accidents. Sleep apnea can also lead to serious or fatal health conditions, including:
- Heart attack
- Metabolic syndrome
- Acid reflux
- Loss of libido
- Weight gain
Dental Sleep Apnea Solutions
Sleep apnea can be treated successfully without surgery. First, we perform a screening evaluation to determine if obstructive sleep apnea is causing your snoring and sleep disturbance. If so, a referral is made to a sleep doctor for a comprehensive diagnostic test called a sleep study. If you are diagnosed with severe sleep apnea, the MD will prescribe a CPAP, a device that forces pressurized air through the airway while you sleep. While many patients experience compliance issues with the CPAP, it is the first line of treatment for severe sleep apnics. For mild and moderate sleep apnea (and those with severe apnea who cannot tolerate a CPAP), we can fit you with a custom-made dental appliance called a mandibular advancement device (MAD). The appliance keeps your jaw from moving out of position when your muscles relax during sleep, allowing you to maintain an open airway.
You can find many over-the-counter (OTC) mouthguards sold to prevent snoring, but these one-size-fits-all devices are known to cause jaw pain, tooth damage and even temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ). People who try them often find that they cannot tolerate them through the night.
According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, sleep appliances should be made by dentists who have experience treating TMJ problems. Our MADs are custom-designed and fitted according to neuromuscular principles. They are comfortable and hold your jaw in its optimal position so that they do not damage your jaw joint or your teeth.
To learn more about sleep apnea and snoring treatment, or to schedule your complimentary consultation, please contact Integrated Dental Aesthetics, in the Kinnelon, New Jersey area, today.