Have you been told you snore loudly? Do you wake up breathless in the middle of the night? Are you drowsy during the day with no explanation? If so, you may have sleep apnea, a common disorder that affects approximately 40 million people. Sleep apnea is characterized by cessations in a person’s breathing as they sleep. Not only can it cause you to lose a good night’s sleep, it can also lead to more serious health problems.
If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea or suspect that it may be the reason for your lack of quality rest, Eastside dentist Dr. Kelley Fisher can help. The trusted dentist has years of experience helping with the detection and sleep apnea treatment; thanks to her expertise, thousands of patients sleep and live better.
TYPES OF SLEEP APNEA
There are three different types of sleep apnea:
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) – The most common type of sleep apnea, OSA is caused by soft tissue in the throat blocking the airway during sleep, obstructing airflow. Dr. Fisher has the most experience with the detection and treatment of OSA.
Central sleep apnea (CSA) – This type of sleep apnea occurs when the brain fails to properly signal the muscles in the respiratory system to breathe.
Mixed sleep apnea – This is a combination of OSA and CSA.
DO YOU HAVE SLEEP APNEA?
Many patients who have sleep apnea are not aware that they have the condition. However, you may suffer from the condition if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Loud snoring
- Waking up suddenly, short of breath
- Feeling fatigued
- Drowsiness during the day
- Restless sleep
- Memory problems
- Mood changes
- Insomnia or difficulty sleeping
- Headaches in the morning
- Teeth grinding/tooth wear
TREATING SLEEP APNEA
Traditional sleep apnea treatment involves a CPAP machine to keep the airway open. Modern treatment options are available in the form of orthodontic therapy or simple oral appliance therapy. Oral appliance therapy is minimally invasive and is considered to be more tolerable by many patients. This therapy uses a custom-made device (similar to a mouth guard) that is worn while sleeping. The oral appliance works by keeping the airway clear during sleep, allowing for unobstructed breathing and relief from snoring. These mandibular repositioning devices are designed to hold the jaw in a forward and slightly downward position. These oral appliances are portable and comfortable and can be used in conjunction with other sleep apnea treatments for optimal results. Dr. Fisher assists with fitting patients for oral appliances. She also monitors treatment to ensure the appliances are comfortable and working properly.