Sleep ApneaPort Orange, FL
Sleep apnea is a severe sleeping disorder that causes difficulty breathing during sleep. In serious cases, one’s breathing suddenly stops and starts again, leading to complicated respiratory issues. Sleep apnea is often a result of oral or endodontic conditions that limit the airflow from the mouth to the lungs.
At Sondra Avant DDS, we offer various treatments for patients experiencing sleep apnea due to oral and endodontic conditions. Our team can diagnose problem areas, identify their causes, and design a custom treatment plan that reduces symptoms of sleep apnea. To learn more about the procedure or schedule an appointment, call (386) 304-4620 today.
What is Sleep Apnea?
There are two types of sleep apnea, differentiated by the reason behind breathing difficulty. These include central and obstructive sleep apnea.
Central Sleep Apnea
Central sleep apnea results when the brain does not send proper signals to the muscles that control breathing. The brain fails to send the signals to breathe periodically throughout the night. This type of sleep apnea can occur with conditions such as heart failure, brain tumors, brain infections, and stroke.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea is more common and refers to blocked airflow causing obstructive sleep. When the soft tissue at the back of the throat collapses during sleep, then it will block airflow. Health factors, such as obesity, or oral conditions, such as tonsillitis, may contribute.
Sleep Apneatic Symptoms
As sleep apnea is a serious condition, its symptoms are apparent and is usually diagnosed in its early stages. One of the most noticeable signs is loud snoring because of the narrowed airways. Other common signs and symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea include:
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Observed episodes of stopped breathing during sleep
- Abrupt awakenings accompanied by gasping or choking
- Awakening with a dry mouth or sore throat
- Morning headache
- Difficulty concentrating during the day
- Experiencing mood changes, such as depression or irritability
- High blood pressure
- Nighttime sweating
- Decreased libido
Risk Factors that Contribute to or Cause Sleep Apnea
Many oral conditions can contribute to the development of sleep apnea including TMJ disorders, bruxism, and mouth breathing. The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) connects the lower jaw to the upper jaw; having TMJ disorder can affect sleep apnea because of jawbone dysfunction. Bruxism refers to grinding or clenching, usually during sleep, which can block the airways and contribute to sleep apnea. Sleep apnea causes a person to breathe through the mouth (mouth breathing), which can lead to dry mouth and tooth decay.
There are also many genetic and behavioral risk factors associated with sleep apnea. According to the Sleep Foundation, these factors include age, gender, obesity, airway abnormalities, and neck size.
Age and Gender
Men are up to two to three times more likely to have obstructive sleep apnea than women, though risk factors appear to balance out once women become postmenopausal. As one ages from young adulthood to 50’s and 60’s the risk increases, but levels off after that.
Several studies have found a strong correlation between higher body mass index (BMI – a measure of body fat based on height and weight) and obstructive sleep apnea. This is because fat deposits in the upper airways can block airflow, especially while sleeping. Additionally, 90% of people who suffer from hyperventilation syndrome (OHS) also have obstructive sleep apnea.
Upper airway and craniofacial abnormalities:
People are more likely to have obstructive sleep apnea if they exhibit abnormalities such as short mandibles, enlarged tonsils, or abnormally sized upper jaw bones.
Those with a larger neck (over 17 inches in men and 16 inches in women), tongue, or tonsils and adenoids may be more likely to experience a blocked airway.
Endodontic Treatment for Sleep Apnea
There are various treatments for sleep apnea that collectively focus on positive airway pressure to reduce the number of respiratory events that occur during sleep. Oral appliances: similar to mouthguards, help maintain an open and unobstructed airway by repositioning or stabilizing the lower jaw, tongue, soft palate, or uvula. Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine: provides a steady stream of pressurized air through a mask worn during sleep, keeping the airways open, preventing pauses in breathing, and restoring normal oxygen levels. Over-the-counter remedies: external nasal dilator strips, internal nasal dilators, and lubricant sprays may help reduce snoring, although they do not cure or treat sleep apnea.
In severe cases of sleep apnea, surgery is required to treat the condition and halt the symptoms. The surgery may involve the removal or correction of an obvious anatomic deformity that can alleviate the breathing problem. Otherwise, surgeries commonly address the reduction or removal of tissue from the soft palate, uvula, tonsils, adenoids, or tongue. More complex surgery may require an adjustment to the craniofacial bone structures.
An uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) involves trimming or removal of excess tissue in the throat to make the airway wider and may involve the removal of the tonsils and uvula.While an adenotonsillectomy involves the removal of the tonsils and adenoids, a common treatment for children.
Schedule a Visit Today
Treatments that relieve sleep apnea symptoms are available at our office. The Sondra Avant DDS team looks forward to treating you and getting you back to better sleep. Call our office at (386) 304-4620 to learn more or schedule an appointment.
Frequently Asked Questions About Sleep Apnea
How often should sleep apnea be re-evaluated?
A titration exam may be conducted when sleep apnea symptoms improve or therapies seem to be working. Typically, titrations are recommended every two years in order to properly assess the patient’s symptoms and prevent recurrence. Patients who notice symptoms reappearing should contact their doctor right away to be re-evaluated.
What are early signs of sleep apnea that I should watch out for?
In the beginning stages, patients may feel slight disturbances in their sleep or be told that they were experiencing disturbances by a co-sleeper. They may also develop snoring or increased levels of snoring. Early sleep apnea causes fatigue, sleepiness, and weakness throughout the day, especially in the morning.
What are some conditions that can be affected by sleep apnea?
Untreated sleep apnea most commonly causes further breathing and respiratory problems. It can also increase a patient’s risk of high blood pressure, stroke, heart failure, heart attacks, diabetes, and depression. Patients with these conditions can develop worsening symptoms with sleep apnea.
What is the most common cause of obstructive sleep apnea?
The most common cause of obstructive sleep apnea is obesity or excessive weight, as the soft tissues in the mouth and throat can block the airways. Oral conditions, such as Bruxism and TMJ disorder, are also common causes. A patient may also have genetic or environmental influences that thicken the soft tissues and block their airways.
Can an endodontist diagnose sleep apnea?
An endodontist cannot officially diagnose sleep apnea, but can help treat it through therapies and surgeries. They can often detect it by looking at worn tooth surfaces and tissues as tooth clenching and grinding as usually the first sign of sleep apnea. If a patient’s sleep apnea is caused by an oral condition, an endodontist can supplement treatment for their case.
What should I do if I suspect I have sleep apnea?
It is important to assess and change any lifestyle habits that may contribute to sleep apnea, such as poor nutrition, lack of exercise, increased weight, and tobacco or alcohol consumption. You may also try sleeping on your side or abdomen to allow more airflow. It is crucial to talk to your doctor for a proper diagnosis and schedule an appointment with us to examine your oral health for early signs of sleep apnea.
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