Sleep Apnea is a severe sleeping disorder in which a person suffers from interrupted breathing. Patients suffering from sleep apnea stop breathing for a brief moment of up to 10 seconds while asleep. It usually occurs when the airway is blocked due to the collapse of the mass of tissues in the throat. Due to repeated interruptions in sleep and limited breathing, the brain and other body parts are devoid of the normal amount of oxygen required for their functioning.
Types of Sleep Apnea
There are two basic types of sleep apnea:
- Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA): Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common type of sleep apnea diagnosed in the majority of the patients. This form of sleep apnea is caused due to airway obstruction when the soft muscles behind your throat relax, narrowing or closing the airway as you breathe in. When the patient’s brain senses that he/she is not breathing it sends a signal to briefly wake them up.
- Central sleep apnea (CSA): In this form of sleep apnea, the airway functions perfectly. However, the brain fails to signal the muscles to continue with respiration. Central sleep apnea is caused to instability in the respiratory control center of the brain.
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
Most patients suffering from sleep apnea are not aware of the problem they are facing. Here are the common symptoms that a patient suffering from sleep apnea may notice:
- Chronic, loud, and frequent snoring is a strong sign of sleep apnea.
- Teeth clenching and grinding.
- Frequent pauses in breathing during sleep.
- Frequent urination throughout the night.
- Fatigue and unrefreshing sleep.
- Difficulty in focusing and concentrating.
- Memory impairment and difficulty in making judgments.
- Increasing weight.
- Acid reflux or GERD.
- Feeling sleepy throughout the day.
- Decreased sex drive or impotence.
- Waking up with a dry throat every morning.
Integrative Dental medicine
Integrative or functional medicine is the new and budding extension of dentistry that connects oral health to the overall health. The main focus of the new branch is to study and research how oral health can impact a patient’s systemic health and vice versa. There are multiple diseases and anomalies that cause a disarray in oral health. Dentists are trained to identify these aspects through questionnaires, medical histories, and other comprehensive oral examination processes.
Sleep Apnea detection and treatment using integrated dental medicine
Dentists using integrative dental medicine can easily identify sleep apnea by a thorough examination of a patient’s medical history. When dentists discover that a patient is suffering from high blood pressure, enlarged tongue, and tonsils, obesity, acid reflux or GERD, they can refer them to go for tests at an accredited sleep center. Thus integrative dental medicine can help in early and quick detection of sleep apnea, which as trend suggests, can easily go undetected.
The standard treatment laid down for treating obstructive sleep apnea is CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure). However, recent surveys suggest that 25% to 50% of sleep apnea patients cannot tolerate CPAP. In these cases, obstructive sleep apnea can be treated by using oral appliances. The oral appliances reposition a patient’s tongue and bring the lower jaw forward while sleeping in order to ensure the airway stays open throughout the night. The oral appliances are an effective tool to counter snoring and mild or moderate sleep apnea.
Experience the best sleep apnea treatment at Reef Dental. Call (415) 563-8123 to schedule an appointment with our dentist.