The Disruptive Rest Condition and You
Sleep apnea is a resting disorder that stems from the mouth and causes many people to suffer non-restful sleep. If left untreated, it can leave negative ramifications in both your personal and professional lives. For those of you who suffer from sleep apnea, you are not alone, and there IS help. Here at Spanish Trail Dentistry, we take sleep apnea very seriously and are proud to work with everyone in the greater Pensacola area, so they can receive the treatment, and in turn, the lifestyle they deserve.
Exactly What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a potentially life-threatening sleep disorder characterized by repeated pauses in breathing during sleep. The term sleep apnea is derived from the Greek etymology meaning “without breath.” These breathing pauses can last anywhere from several seconds to minutes, and happen more than 30 times per hour.
Ongoing disrupted breathing causes an imbalance between the carbon dioxide and oxygen levels in the bloodstream, as not enough carbon dioxide is exiting and not enough oxygen is entering the body. Sensing this imbalance, the brain sends a message to the body, telling it to wake up to restart breathing the process. People with sleep apnea will partially awaken as they struggle to breathe, and loud snoring or choking sensations often accompany this. Because people with sleep apnea aren’t always completely awake during the episodes, they are often unaware they have a sleeping disorder which causes it to remain undiagnosed.
There are two main types of this disorder; the first one is central sleep apnea, which occurs when the brain fails to send important signals to the breathing muscles. The second type is obstructive sleep apnea. This occurs when air cannot flow through the nose or mouth even though the body is still trying to breathe. Obstructive sleep apnea is far more prevalent and easily treatable by dentists.
Common signs of obstructive sleep apnea can include:
· Severe morning headaches or migraines
· Drowsiness during the daytime
· Insomnia at night
Fortunately, Dr. Jeff Strickland is equipped with the necessary technology and expertise to treat sleep apnea in several different ways.
Why Do I Need To Treat Sleep Apnea?
It is very important to seek medical attention if sleep apnea is suspected. A sufferer can completely stop breathing numerous times per hour, and this can quickly turn into a deadly situation. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the soft tissue lying at the back of the patient’s throat collapses into the airway. The tongue then falls towards the back of the throat, which tightens the blockage and prevents oxygen from entering the lungs.
The problem worsens when the chest region, diaphragm, and abdomen fight for air. The efforts they make to obtain vital oxygen only cause a further tightening of the blockage. The patient suffering from sleep apnea must arouse from deep sleep to tense the tongue and remove the soft tissue from blocking the airway.
Because sleep apnea causes carbon dioxide levels to skyrocket in the blood and oxygen levels to decrease, the heart has to pump harder and faster to compensate for the lack of oxygen. Sleep apnea patients can technically “die” many times each night. Also, sleep apnea has been linked to a series of serious heart-related conditions.
What Does Sleep Apnea Treatment Involve?
Initially, Dr. Strickland will want to conduct tests in order to investigate, diagnose, and pinpoint a suitable treatment. He can then offer you various treatment options depending on your exact diagnosis and current health level. Dr. Strickland may advise you to halt some habits that aggravate sleep apnea. These habits include smoking, alcohol consumption, and tranquilizer use.
Traditionally, sleeping masks were used to keep the patient’s airways open while they slept, but nowadays there are some less intrusive options. There are many dental devices that gently move the lower jaw forward are very effective in preventing the tongue from blocking the main air passage. These dental devices are gentle, easy to wear, and often help patients avoid unwanted surgeries.
A more permanent solution is to have surgery that sections the lower jaw and helps pull the bone holding the tongue forward slightly. This surgery has an impressive success rate and is simple for us to perform. Before recommending the best course of action, you will need to come in for a consultation so Dr. Strickland can assess the condition of your sleep apnea and personal health.
Set Up An Appointment Today!
You don’t have to continue living with sleepless nights that result in no true rest. If someone you know is suffering from this condition, be sure to let them know that there is an answer. Here at Spanish Trail Dentistry, we can help provide you with the tools to take control of your condition. Our team is dedicated to making each preventive care visit as pleasant and comfortable as possible, so you can rest assured know you are in good hands. Set up an appointment today, and release yourself from this straining situation you find yourself in. We hope to see you sleeping soundly soon!