Do you find that you’re exhausted by the afternoon even after a full night’s sleep? Do you often wake up with a headache? Do you ever have a difficult time concentrating at work?
Did you know that these symptoms can indicate that you might be suffering from sleep apnea?
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that causes you to stop breathing during the night, usually due to an obstructed airway. The lack of oxygen signals your brain to wake you up. This can happen multiple times throughout the night without you even realizing it.
Loud snoring that keeps your partner awake is often a characteristic of sleep apnea, and may be your first indicator or noticeable symptom. Other signs of sleep apnea may include:
- Chronic fatigue
- Frequent headaches
- Depression or anxiety
- Weight gain
- Difficulty focusing or concentrating on tasks
If sleep apnea is left undiagnosed or untreated, it can contribute to other health concerns like diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, heart attacks or heart failure.
Treating Sleep Apnea
A sleep study is the best way to properly diagnose sleep apnea.
The standard of care for treating sleep apnea is typically CPAP, or continuous positive airway pressure therapy. The problem with CPAP therapy is that it requires patients to wear a mask while they’re sleeping, which makes some people feel claustrophobic or uncomfortable while they sleep. Unfortunately, many patients aren’t compliant with using their CPAP and don’t receive its benefits.
At Tryon Family Dentistry, we offer an alternative to CPAP. We utilize a CT scan, which provides 3-D images of our patients’ airways and helps us determine if there is a potential for sleep apnea. A customized oral appliance can often be a good alternative or addition to CPAP therapy. It fits much like a retainer and can be designed to slightly reposition your jaw, which opens your airways for clear breathing at night.
The oral appliance is comfortable to wear, easy to get used to, and could be an ideal alternative for patients with mild to moderate sleep apnea. Patients with severe sleep apnea may benefit from using an oral appliance in conjunction with their CPAP device for improved results.
If you suspect that you or a loved one may suffer from sleep apnea, contact your Raleigh and Cary dentists at Tryon Family Dentistry to learn more about getting a sleep study and how an oral appliance may benefit you. Dr. Leo and Dr. Alex are happy to partner with your primary physician to ensure that you’re receiving the most effective treatment for your sleep apnea.
Give us a call today to learn more.