If you are waking up in the morning feeling unrefreshed and fatigued, you may have sleep apnea. Did you know that your local Yardley dentist can help? At Bucks County Smiles, we can screen for and potentially treat sleep apnea with highly effective oral appliances.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the temporary stoppage of breathing during sleep, often (but not always) resulting in daytime sleepiness. It is caused by a blockage of the airway, usually when the soft tissue in the rear of the throat collapses and closes during sleep.
With each apnea event, the sleep stages may be interrupted, and consequently, sleep is extremely fragmented and of poor quality. For some patients, chronic insomnia develops as they have a hard time falling back asleep.
Many people are aware that they might have obstructive sleep apnea because they wake up in the middle of the night gasping for air. However, just because you haven’t had a dramatic nighttime awakening, it doesn’t mean that sleep apnea isn’t happening. You just might not be aware of it.
Other signs of obstructive sleep apnea include daytime drowsiness and fatigue, irritability, dry mouth, and even headaches. Snoring, especially loud, jagged snoring sounds, are often a strong indicator of some level of sleep apnea. You might also notice some mood changes as well as anxiety and depression increasing with chronic OSA.
Sleep apnea can be present at any age for both males and females of all body types. And, while conditions such as obesity may be correlated with obstructive sleep apnea, weight is not the only factor. Some people are simply more prone to it due to the structure of their airways and nasal passages. OSA may be aggravated or caused by allergies or other medical conditions, and children can also develop sleep apnea due to inflamed, enlarged tonsils and adenoids.
Our specially trained team can screen for and identify signs of obstructive sleep apnea in the mouth and oral cavity. A qualified dentist is often the first line of defense against sleep apnea since airway structures are assessed during every dental visit.
Obstructive sleep apnea can leave clear, telltale signs in the mouth, such as evidence of teeth grinding (bruxism), eroded enamel due to dry mouth and acid reflux, and enlarged or hypermobile tongue. At Bucks County Smiles, we collaborate with board-certified sleep physicians to provide convenient home sleep tests. We will collaborate with your healthcare team to address your sleep-disordered breathing and find a treatment solution that works best for you.
If left untreated, obstructive sleep apnea can cause daytime sleepiness, poor sleep quality, high blood pressure, increased blood sugar levels (as in diabetes), heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, depression, memory problems, sexual difficulties, weight gain, and headaches. Moreover, untreated OSA may be responsible for job impairment and motor vehicle crashes. Fortunately, sleep apnea can be diagnosed and treated.
Bucks County Smiles is an integrative dental practice, which means we go above and beyond traditional dental services and focus on total mouth-body wellness. For this reason, we specialize in sleep apnea treatment and prevention from the dental perspective.
As an expert in dental sleep medicine, our Clinical Director, Dr. Scholl, is specially trained to screen for and treat obstructive sleep apnea. She can fabricate oral sleep appliances that patients wear during the night to help them inhale and exhale more air per breath, which in turn reduces a patient’s snoring and sleep apnea.
If a person with OSA has tried to use a CPAP (a device for sleep apnea) but found it to be intolerable, an oral appliance may be the solution. Many of our patients find their custom dental appliances to be much more comfortable than a CPAP, as well as more portable.
For children, we will work with the primary care physician to support the diagnostics and any recommendations.
Bucks County Smiles can screen for and treat sleep apnea with CPAP alternatives. Please call (267) 365-3004 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Scholl at no cost to you.