Disordered breathing during sleep is an underdiagnosed issue that is linked to many short and long-term health problems. Not only are people who have sleep issues tired, cranky, and moody, they are at higher risk for conditions like heart disease and stroke.
When you sleep, the muscles of your jaw and throat become relaxed, which can cause the tongue to fall back and block the airway. In some cases, this can cause breathing cessation for a period of 10 seconds or more, which falls into the category of sleep apnea. Sufferers may stop breathing 10 to 300 times a night! With limited oxygen flow to the brain, the brain attempts to wake up. While the sleeper may not awaken fully, the sleep cycle has been disrupted and quality of sleep is poor. This cycle continues throughout the night– which isn’t good for the brain or the body.
Research has shown that anyone can develop sleep apnea, but there are several risk factors that increase your chances of having or developing the disorder, including family history, obesity, and a history of smoking.
If you snore or suspect you might have a breathing problem during sleep, a great place to start is by taking a simple self-assessment. Read the pictured information and answer honestly in the last 30 days how likely are you to doze off or fall asleep in each of these situations?
If you score a 10 or above, you need to schedule an appointment with us for an in-depth screening. If you are determined to be at high risk for sleep apnea or sleep disordered breathing, we will help facilitate a sleep study. There are two types of sleep studies, overnight studies done in the lab and those done with take-home equipment in your own bed. The in-lab studies are more comprehensive, but the take-home studies are used to diagnose as well.
Depending on the severity of your condition, your sleep physician will make a treatment recommendation. For more severe cases, a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machine (CPAP) will likely be recommended. A CPAP machine includes a mask that covers the mouth and nose and during sleep air is pushed into your nose and mouth. While CPAP therapy can prove very effective, many patients cannot tolerate or comply with the treatment long-term. In that case we can discuss an alternative dental appliance that can assist in opening the airway. This is where Comprehensive Family Dental comes in!
Your Victoria dentists can fabricate custom-fit oral appliances to help pull the lower jaw forward in order to open the airway during sleep. If you have a sleep apnea diagnosis or are concerned about your risk factors, get in touch with us today.
Our office is conveniently located off East Mockingbird Lane, between John Stockbauer Rd., and Sam Houston Dr.
110 Professional Park Dr.
Victoria, TX 77904
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