Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a condition in which the upper air passages become blocked during sleep. There may be several episodes of blockage during the night, each lasting anywhere from 20 to 40 seconds. During this time, the person actually stops breathing and wakes up. In many cases, the sufferer is not aware of the blockage episodes, but they may be seen by a partner or parent, and there may be negative effects on the body, including excessive snoring. Excessive snoring should never be ignored because it is a common warning sign that you may be developing obstructive sleep apnea. Dentists handle this problem because one of the top treatments for OSA is dental sleep medicine.
There are effective treatments for snoring as well as treatment for obstructive sleep apnea. These include certain devices, nightguards, lifestyle changes and perhaps even surgery. When people have problems sleeping, or if their partners complain of snoring, they may not first think about visiting a dentist for a solution. However, it is dentists who pioneered dental sleep medicine. For some patients, it is a life-changing treatment because it removes or reduces the risk of:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Erectile dysfunction
- Chronic acid reflux
The common signs of obstructive sleep apnea are gasping, choking or snoring during sleep. Oxygen levels are reduced and the sufferer may have a headache in the morning and sometimes memory loss. Daytime sleepiness and fatigue are also symptoms and may be dangerous, as they can contribute to workplace accidents and drowsy driving.
During a consultation with our specialist at the office of Dr. Michael Sohl, your sleeping issues may be diagnosed and the right dental sleep medicine treatment prescribed. You may have a complete clinical evaluation that includes your teeth, tongue, jaw and airway. If you opt for a device, each appliance is custom-designed using state-of-the-art technology. It is usually necessary to have follow-up visits to be sure you are getting the maximum effectiveness of the treatment. Once your symptoms have subsided, you may find that your quality of life has improved. This is because when you sleep better, you have more energy during the day.
The office of Dr. Michael Sohl is located in Stuart, FL. If you suspect that you have sleep apnea, don’t wait another day to seek treatment. Addressing your condition may be a whole lot simpler than you once thought. Contact our Stuart office today to schedule an appointment to learn more!