Many of the patients at our cosmetic dentistry practice tell us that their snoring is affecting their sleep or the sleep of their partner. While snoring may seem like an ordinary complaint or simply an inconvenience, severe snoring can be an indication of a much more serious health concern. Sleep apnea – a condition that causes people to momentarily stop breathing during sleep – can result in sudden gasping for breath during sleep, constant drowsiness, and even depression. When left untreated, sleep apnea can ultimately lead to an array of conditions and serious health risks, including sudden cardiac death, hypertension, stroke, gastric reflux disease, insomnia, memory loss, diabetes, and sexual dysfunction. If you are suffering from sleep apnea, our cosmetic dentist, John Cross, DDS, can develop a customized treatment plan to improve your condition and allow you to sleep soundly and peacefully.
Sleep Apnea Diagnosis
Sleep apnea and snoring are typically characterized by the narrowing of oral and nasal passages during sleep. The tissues and muscles in these areas can become very relaxed, obstructing a positive flow of air while you are sleeping. Dr. Cross believes sleep apnea is a serious health concern and recommends evaluation by a specialist if you suspect you may be at risk. Many people who suffer from the effects of sleep apnea are unaware they have the condition. Indications of sleep apnea can include:
- Severe snoring
- Breathing pauses lasting several seconds, even up to a minute or more
- Inability to sleep through the night
- Unexplained daytime fatigue
- Choking in your sleep
- Frequently waking up gasping for air
A sleep study is commonly used to diagnose sleep apnea, and can inform Dr. Cross of the best way to approach your treatment.
Sleep Apnea Treatment
There are several methods of treatment available for sleep apnea. Continuous Positive Air Pressure (CPAP) masks can help you breathe more easily as you sleep. A customized oral appliance can also be used as a smaller and less cumbersome alternative; these “nightguards” are designed for the most comfortable fit possible. Dr. Cross will talk with you about the many available treatment options and help you determine the best one for your needs. The benefits of sleep apnea treatment include uninterrupted sleep, feeling well-rested, and significantly reducing your risk for associated health concerns.
If you believe you or your partner may be suffering from sleep apnea, or if you would like to schedule a consultation with Dr. Cross, please contact our office today.