Your Guide to Sleep Apnea
Getting Quality Sleep Shouldn’t Be Difficult
Inconsistent sleep can negatively impact your physical and mental health. Without getting consistent rest, it can become difficult to concentrate throughout the day and you can also be at risk of developing a variety of health complications. Fortunately, at Central Texas Dental Care, our Hewitt, TX dentists offer different treatment options to help get your sleep back on track while also gradually improving the overall quality of your day-to-day lifestyle.
The first step to treating your sleep apnea is understanding the disorder and getting an accurate diagnosis. Read our guide below to learn how our team can get you the care you need. Our office also serves patients in West Waco, Robinson, and Woodway, TX.
What Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Difficulty breathing during the night can be caused by obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a serious sleep disorder that causes your throat muscles to collapse and block your airway. This can lead to symptoms like loud snoring and multiple interruptions in your sleep. As a result, it becomes difficult getting the deep sleep you need, with sufferers waking up in the morning not feeling well-rested. Sleep apnea can even interrupt your sleep up to 30 times each hour, making it important to receive the necessary treatment to alleviate your symptoms.
The Causes of Obstructive Sleep Apnea
There are a variety of factors that can impact your chances of developing sleep apnea. Your dentist needs to have you undergo a sleep study to determine the exact cause of your sleep apnea to develop an effective treatment plan.
Some common causes include:
- Excessive tobacco and alcohol use
- Obesity and a large neck circumference
- Having a genetic predisposition
- Certain medical conditions
Sleep Apnea Symptoms
It’s important to recognize the signs of sleep apnea since all too often the disorder goes unrecognized. Without appropriate treatment, this can lead to serious consequences including weight gain, cardiovascular issues, increased risk of stroke, and more. Some symptoms to look out for when it comes to sleep apnea include:
- Loud and disruptive snoring
- Choking or gasping for air overnight
- Lack of daytime energy or motivation
- Feeling fatigued throughout the day
- Headaches during the morning
- Difficulties concentrating
- Decreased libido
Testing for Sleep Apnea
The only way to know for sure if you have sleep apnea is to undergo a sleep study. This is conducted either in a sleep lab or with a device that you can use at home. Certain indicators like your breathing rate, blood oxygen levels, heart rate, and more are measured throughout the night. Once completed, a qualified sleep specialist will evaluate your results to provide a diagnosis that your dentist can then use to provide you with treatment.
Understanding Your Airway
The muscles controlling the tongue and soft palate hold the airway open during normal sleep.
The airway starts to narrow when these muscles relax, leading to snoring and breathing issues.
Muscles that relax too much can block your airway, obstructing the flow of oxygen.
Treatment for Sleep Apnea
Most patients who are diagnosed with sleep apnea are often given a CPAP machine by their dentist. These devices pump a continuous flow of pressurized air into your lungs while you sleep with a facial mask. While CPAP can allow you to breathe without interruption, many patients find this option to be too disruptive and stop using it. The most common complaint is that the mask is uncomfortable and the machine makes too much noise. Fortunately, at Central Texas Dental Care, Dr. Sager provides oral appliance therapy to relieve your symptoms.
Unlike CPAP, oral appliances are nighttime mouthguards that are designed to improve your sleep as comfortably and silently as possible. These work by shifting your lower jaw forward to keep your airway open and prevent obstruction. With common lifestyle changes such as dieting and exercising regularly, you’ll begin to notice an improvement in your quality of sleep.
Frequently Asked Questions
What happens if I don’t treat my sleep apnea?
Your sleep apnea won’t go away unless treated by dentists like Dr. Sager and our team of professional dental experts. If left alone, sleep apnea can severely impact your mental wellness over time, with the overall consequences being potentially life-threatening. Some of these issues include anxiety, depression, hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, and more.
How can oral appliance therapy help improve my sleep?
At Central Texas Dental Care, our oral appliances are designed to improve your sleep while being as non-intrusive as possible. Instead of constantly pumping oxygen through your airway, these mouthguards position your jaw so that your breathing isn’t obstructed. This reduces your sleep apnea symptoms, giving you the rest your body needs. Most importantly, we design our oral appliances with your unique oral health and comfort in mind.
What lifestyle choices can help reduce my sleep apnea?
While it’s important to receive professional medical care, making simple changes to your day-to-day lifestyle can also help with reducing your symptoms. When combined with proper treatment, effective choices you can make include:
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Participating in consistent exercise
- Reducing alcohol and tobacco intake
- Adjusting your position when sleeping
Will insurance cover my treatment for sleep apnea?
Your medical insurance should cover the cost of your sleep apnea treatment since it’ll be medically necessary. Still, our Hewitt, TX practice recommends contacting your provider to get an accurate understanding of your coverage and benefits. That way, your treatment will be more affordable and accessible. For further assistance, we encourage you to call us at (254) 666-1686 to learn more about our financing options.
Achieve Peaceful Sleep at Central Texas Dental Care
Not getting the sleep you need can impact your body and mind. That’s why it’s important to seek treatment so that you can recharge throughout the night. Our Hewitt, TX practice will work with you and your unique needs to develop a treatment plan that works for you. Achieve the restful sleep you deserve! Schedule a consultation today by calling us at (254) 666-1686 or by filling out our online contact form below.