Sleep apnea is a serious disorder that affects approximately 22 million Americans and can cause loud snoring, fatigue, and headaches. Those suffering from obstructive sleep apnea repeatedly stop breathing during their sleep cycle, because their airway is blocked. This condition has been associated with severe side effects, including high blood pressure, stroke, and heart attack. Each sleep apnea treatment we provide is specifically tailored to address the individual concerns of our patients. At our Valdosta, GA, dental office, Dr. Brett Hester offers custom mouth guards, as well as CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) therapy to help you sleep soundly, and achieve a better quality of life.
When the airway is obstructed during sleep, the breathing cycle is disrupted.
Sleep apnea can manifest in a number of ways. You may have sleep apnea if you experience:
- A lack of energy
- Severe snoring
- Mood swings
- Gasping upon waking
- Sore or dry throat upon waking
- Chronic headaches
- Restless sleep or insomnia
- Anxiety or depression
During your visit, we can assess any and all symptoms to ensure we discover the source of your condition and recommend appropriate treatment.
Risk Factors of Sleep Apnea
There are a variety of factors linked to the onset of obstructive sleep apnea. The most common causes include:
- Excess Body Weight: Being overweight places additional pressure on the airways, resulting in a higher risk of sleep apnea.
- Enlarged Tissues: If any oral structure is larger than normal, such as the tongue or tonsils, it can cause narrowing of the airway.
- Gender: Men are more likely than women to develop sleep apnea.
- Age: Patients over the age of 40 have an increased risk for sleep apnea.
- Genetics: Some patients are more prone to develop sleep disorders based on their family history.
- Smoking: Tobacco use results in inflammation of the airway. Many patients notice a decrease in symptoms after they stop smoking.
- Neck Size: If the circumference of your neck is larger than average (15 inches for women and 17 inches for men), the risk of sleep apnea increases.
- Sleep Medications: While those suffering from sleeplessness are inclined to take sedatives, these medications can cause the muscles around your airway to relax too much.
- Alcohol Intake: Because of its sedative effect, alcohol can relax the muscles much like a sedative. Limiting alcohol intake and avoiding consumption within three hours of bedtime can help alleviate the symptoms of sleep apnea.
- Nasal or Sinus Issues: Congestion can result in narrowing of the airway. While it is normal to experience breathing problems during an illness, chronic issues should be evaluated as soon as possible.
We can review your risk factors during your consultation and recommend lifestyle changes when applicable.
Long-Term Negative Effects
Left untreated, sleep disorders can lead to more serious conditions, including:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
As such, it is important to treat sleep apnea in a timely fashion. This can not only improve your quality of life but your overall health and wellness.
By addressing this condition early, you could be investing in your long-term health.
Sleep Apnea Treatments
Modern therapies can alleviate the symptoms of sleep apnea. Because each patient is unique, we provide a personalized approach to treatment. Dr. Hester can help you determine which method is best for you. We can provide:
Dr. Hester can fabricate a custom dental guard to guide your jaw and tongue into more favorable positions. This will aid in opening the airway, creating a steady flow of air. A mouthpiece will also help eliminate bruxism (teeth grinding) during sleep.
CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure):
This machine is a common treatment for more severe cases and delivers a steady stream of air through the nose and mouth. This method requires that a mask be worn during sleep.
After evaluating your needs, preferences, and lifestyle we can determine which treatment option is best for you.
Schedule an Appointment Today
If you are experiencing symptoms of sleep apnea, our team at Brett Hester, DMD can help you achieve a comfortable night’s sleep. By addressing this condition early, you could be investing in your long-term health. Call our office at (229) 247-3400, or contact us online to schedule your visit.