Sleep Apnea

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder characterized by pauses in breathing or shallow breathing during sleep. It is often caused by the relaxation of throat muscles, leading to the obstruction of the airway.

What are the common symptoms of sleep apnea?

Common symptoms of sleep apnea include loud snoring, episodes of breathing cessation during sleep, gasping or choking sensations, excessive daytime sleepiness, morning headaches, difficulty concentrating, and irritability.

How does the dentist know that you may have sleep apnea?

A. Teeth grinding or clenching may be a common consequence or one of the causes of sleep apnea. The dentist may find unusual wear of your teeth and ask you questions about your sleep patterns

How is sleep apnea diagnosed?

Sleep apnea is typically diagnosed through a sleep study called polysomnography. This involves monitoring various parameters during sleep, such as brain activity, eye movements, heart rate, oxygen levels, and airflow.

What are the health risks associated with untreated sleep apnea?

Untreated sleep apnea can lead to various health complications, including high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, depression, and an increased risk of accidents due to daytime sleepiness.

What are the treatment options for sleep apnea?

Treatment options for sleep apnea include lifestyle changes, such as weight loss and avoiding alcohol and sedatives, phased therapy like oral appliance therapy, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy,, and in some cases, surgery.

What is oral appliance therapy for sleep apnea?

An oral appliance is a custom-fitted device that is worn in the mouth during sleep. It helps to reposition the jaw and tongue to keep the airway open, reducing snoring and the severity of sleep apnea

How can my bite be corrected if it is one of the causes of sleep apnea?

A T scan ( bite scan) is done to identify occlusal interferences caused by night grinding. These interferences are removed by selective grinding by the dentist. Alternatively, excessive wear may be restored by rebuilding your occlusal surface with composite/ ceramic/ zirconia crowns. However, wearing a night guard is critical to prevent further wear. A sleep test is recommended to identify severity and determine appropriate therapy

How does CPAP therapy work?

CPAP therapy involves wearing a mask over the nose or mouth during sleep, which delivers a continuous flow of air pressure to keep the airway open. This prevents the pauses in breathing and improves oxygen levels during sleep.

Can lifestyle changes alone help with sleep apnea?

In mild cases of sleep apnea, lifestyle changes such as weight loss, regular exercise, and avoiding alcohol and sedatives may be sufficient to alleviate symptoms. However, moderate to severe cases usually require additional treatment.

Can children have sleep apnea?

Yes, children can also have sleep apnea. It is often caused by enlarged tonsils or adenoids and can lead to problems with growth, development, and behavior. Pediatric sleep apnea requires prompt diagnosis and treatment.

It's important to consult with a healthcare professional or sleep specialist for a proper diagnosis and personalized treatment plan for sleep apnea.