Dental Sleep Medicine
Sleep apnea is caused by the collapse of the upper airway while sleeping causing a decrease of oxygen in the blood. This causes the body to enter a state of panic because the organs are starving for oxygen. This panic interrupts the sleep pattern. Many of these episodes can occur every hour. Sleep apnea is a very serious condition, but only 10-15 percent of people having the disorder have been diagnosed. Sleep apnea can take 10-12 years off of your life. It can also cause heart attack, dementia, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease and even death.
Common Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
Snoring is often an indicator of sleep apnea. High blood pressure, acid reflux, excessive daytime sleepiness, and clenching or grinding of the teeth at night are all symptoms of sleep apnea. Also, witnessed events by the bed partner where breathing stops while sleeping is a strong indicator. However, a sleep study is required to know for sure.
There are many factors that are common in those people diagnosed with sleep apnea. Being overweight or having a large neck size, having a family history of sleep apnea, and being middle-aged all increase the risk of sleep apnea. Men are also more likely to have the condition.
How Do I Find Out if I Have Sleep Apnea?
We, at All American Dental, have several ways to administer the necessary sleep test. The most common test is a home sleep test where a small piece of equipment is given to you to wear at night while you sleep. The equipment is returned the next day and the information is downloaded. A sleep physician reads the data to make a diagnosis. Once the diagnosis is obtained treatment can begin. Treatment can consist of a CPAP (continuous positive air pressure) machine, oral mouthpiece, or a combination of the two.
What if I’ve Been Diagnosed with Sleep Apnea but I Can’t Use My CPAP?
Many people are unable to sleep while wearing a CPAP or cannot travel with their CPAP. In these instances, an oral mouthpiece can be a great option to keep the airway open while you sleep.
Why Is My Dentist Talking about a Medical Condition?
Dr. Wietholder believes in ensuring the whole-body health of his patients. As a dentist, he can often see signs of sleep apnea during a dental exam. Blood pressure readings are also routinely taken at dental visits. An elevated blood pressure with any of the other symptoms listed can indicate that a patient may have sleep apnea. Dr. Wietholder can also fabricate an oral mouthpiece to treat sleep apnea once a sleep physician has prescribed it.
Since sleep apnea is a medical condition, your medical insurance can be utilized for testing and fabrication of an oral device even though you are being treated at a dental office.
Are you ready for a good night’s rest? Give All American Dental in Columbia, MO a call at 573-449-1918.