When you’re not getting any sleep night after night, your breathing is preventing enough oxygen from getting to your brain, or your snoring is so loud even your dog gives you funny looks, you might have sleep apnea – and there is one possible solution Westlake Family Dentistry offers that may be more attractive to you than a CPAP machine. The field of dental sleep medicine focuses on the treatment of sleep-related breathing issues with the use of custom-fitted appliances for the mouth. Dr. Sievert has earned the Qualified Dentist designation in the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine with years of experience helping patients find relief from sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is a dangerous sleep disorder that affects millions of Americans, while many cases remain undiagnosed. There are three types of sleep apnea: central sleep apnea, obstructive sleep apnea, and mixed sleep apnea. Central sleep apnea occurs when the brain fails to send the proper signals to the body during sleep to tell it to breathe. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the soft tissues in the back of the throat relax and collapse during sleep, blocking the airway and preventing proper breathing, while mixed sleep apnea is a combination of the two. Central and mixed sleep apnea require treatment from a medical professional, sleep specialist or neurologist, but Dr. Sievert can help treat obstructive sleep apnea.
Most obstructive sleep apnea sufferers are men over 40. While women and children may also suffer from sleep apnea, it is much less common. A family history of sleep apnea can increase your risk, as well as physical factors such as obesity, having a large neck or narrow airway, nasal congestion, drinking alcohol, using sedatives, smoking and tobacco use, or eating spicy foods.
The most common sign of sleep apnea is chronic snoring. Sleep apnea sufferers often wake themselves up choking or gasping for air throughout the night. These constant sleep disturbances lead to chronic fatigue and daytime sleepiness, in addition to waking up feeling tired after what should have been a full night’s rest. Many sleep apnea sufferers wake up with dry mouth or headache and tend to urinate more frequently throughout the night. Sleep apnea can also cause insomnia, nightmares, anxiety, and depression.
Left untreated, sleep apnea can have devastating consequences. It causes low blood oxygen levels from a chronic lack of oxygen each night, contributing to the potential development of serious systemic diseases, including heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Sleep apnea sufferers are also more likely to fall asleep randomly throughout the day and are at a high risk of auto accidents caused by falling asleep at the wheel.
Custom dental appliances are an alternative to the CPAP machine for sleep apnea treatment. Worn like a mouthguard during sleep, the device fits to the mouth and gently shifts the lower jaw forward, preventing airway collapse and supporting more comfortable breathing through the night. This simple, non-invasive treatment could dramatically change your quality of sleep, your quality of life, and prevent future health problems down the road.
If you have any questions about dental sleep medicine or would like to schedule an appointment with your Lake Oswego dentist, Dr. Sievert at Westlake Family Dentistry, give us a call or request an appointment online below. We can’t wait to smile with you!
Call Dr. Sievert today to discuss the possibilities!