Obstructive sleep apnea, or loud snoring, is a dental concern that most patients forget to mention during their routine appointments. In fact, few patients are aware that their dentist can help with their snoring. As your trusted general dentist in Raleigh, NC, Dr. Emily Ann Reece is happy to help her patients who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea. Not only does sleep apnea cause sleep disturbances, but it also causes long-term health risks that put your life at risk. We recommend scheduling an appointment with Dr. Reece promptly if you suspect you’ve been suffering from obstructive sleep apnea.
Sleep Apnea Treatment in Raleigh, NC
Obstructive sleep apnea is caused when an excess of soft tissues in your mouth and throat collapse on each other as you sleep. As you attempt to breathe in your sleep, these soft tissues block your airway and cause loud snoring or gasps. Often, patients are unaware that they’ve been suffering from sleep apnea until a roommate or sleeping partner informs them of it. Sleep apnea not only affects your health, but it can also put strain on your close relationships. That’s why we recommend seeking treatment for it and allows Dr. Reece to see what she can do for your sleep apnea.
What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?
Beyond loud snoring, there are a few key symptoms to look out for when it comes to obstructive sleep apnea. These symptoms include:
- Excessive daytime fatigue.
- Struggling to breathe during sleep.
- Abrupt awakenings
- Gasping or choking during sleep
- Dry mouth
- Sore throat
- Morning headaches
- Difficulty concentrating during the day.
If you notice any of these symptoms, make sure to report them at your next dental appointment so that we can appropriately diagnose and treat your sleep apnea.
How can a dentist help with sleep apnea?
Dr. Emily Ann Reece often treats her patients suffering from mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea with oral appliance therapy. Similar to a mouthguard, oral appliance therapy utilizes a custom made nightguard that holds your jaw in a healthier resting position as you sleep. While in use, the nightguard maintains a proper airway for you to breathe through as you sleep. This prevents the loud snoring and the lack of oxygen flow that results from the excess soft tissue. For more extreme cases of sleep apnea, a CPAP machine may be recommended to ensure you are maintaining enough oxygen as you sleep.
Certain patients are more at risk for developing sleep apnea than others. Risk factors for sleep apnea include:
- Patients who have excess weight or struggle with obesity
- Patients who have a larger neck circumference
- Male patients
- Patients who are over the age of 40
- Patients with a family history of obstructive sleep apnea
- Use of alcohol, sedatives or tranquilizers, especially before bed
If you have any of these risk factors, it’s important to have your sleep apnea symptoms treated sooner rather than later. Sleep apnea may result in strokes, heart failure, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Please schedule a sleep apnea consultation with Dr. Reece. We look forward to helping you restore your dental health and helping you achieve a good night’s sleep.