If you recently discovered you have sleep apnea, or suspect you might have it, you likely have lots of questions. At Massa Dental Center, we’re happy to help you navigate through understanding sleep apnea and sleep apnea treatment options.
To help you get a better understanding, we’ve compiled answers to your top sleep apnea questions.
What Causes Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is caused by an obstruction in your airway. A number of factors can contribute to an obstructed airway. For instance, if you’re overweight, the excess fat on your neck can put pressure on your airway and cause it to narrow. You might also have an obstructed airway because your tongue falls back into your throat while you sleep. Sleep apnea can also be a result of having an underdeveloped jaw. There are lots of different causes of sleep apnea.
Here are the most common ones:
- Excess weight
- Neck circumference
- Narrow airway
- Using alcohol or sedatives
- Nasal problems
- Enlarged tonsils or adenoids
- Large tongue
- Medical conditions
When you visit Massa Dental Center for sleep apnea treatment, we will examine your mouth and airway to determine if anything dental-related is part of the cause.
What are the Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?
If you’re suffering from sleep apnea, one of the best ways to know whether or not you should take the time to take a sleep test is by looking at your symptoms. Sleep apnea sufferers may experience one or more of the following symptoms.
- Loud snoring
- Coughing, choking or gasping for breath during sleep
- Morning headaches
- Frequent urination at night
- Difficulty falling asleep
- Daytime sleepiness
- Dry mouth upon waking
- Memory problems
- Decreased sex drive
If you experience any of the symptoms listed above, it’s best to take a sleep test to find out if you have sleep apnea.
How Do I Know for Sure If I Have Sleep Apnea?
The only way to know for sure whether you have sleep apnea or not is by taking a sleep test. At Massa Dental Center we provide the use and comfort of a home sleep test. Most patients find this more comfortable that attending a sleep lab. After taking the test, a sleep physician will review your results to determine whether or not you have sleep apnea. There is no other way to determine if you have sleep apnea. A sleep test is the only accurate diagnosis.
How Long Do Sleep Studies Take?
If you’re visiting a sleep lab, the sleep test takes place over the course of one night. You will have your results very quickly after waking the next morning. If you take a home sleep test, you need to wear the device for 2 – 3 nights to ensure you recorded your results correctly. Once you return the sleep test, you should receive your results within a week.
What are the Treatment Options for Sleep Apnea?
No longer is CPAP the only treatment option for sleep apnea. There are several different treatment options available today. These include:
- CPAP – Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machines blow pressurized air into the airway via a face or nasal mask. The continuous pressure prevents the airway from collapsing. This is the most common type of treatment.
- Oral appliances – Available from dentists, oral appliances reposition the jaw so that the airway cannot collapse. In addition, there are oral appliances available that correct development issues that cause sleep apnea.
- Neuro-stimulation therapy – A device is surgically inserted into the body and works by delivering stimulation to the tongue muscles to prevent it from obstructing the airway.
- Surgery – In rare cases, surgery is necessary to clear the airway obstruction.
- Lifestyle changes – Losing weight, changing sleep position, quitting smoking and drinking alcohol, and increasing exercise are just some of the lifestyle changes recommended.
Although surgical options exist, at Massa Dental Center our philosophy focuses on non-surgical/non-invasive treatments.
Do I Have to Use CPAP?
No! With many different treatment options for sleep apnea now available, CPAP is no longer the only option. Use the treatment that works best for your lifestyle and needs.
What Happens If I Don’t Treat Sleep Apnea?
If you fail to treat your sleep apnea, you will not only continue to experience your life-altering symptoms but also suffer from severe health risks. Leaving sleep apnea untreated increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure, and more.
Should I Worry If I Only Snore?
Yes. Snoring is the sound your throat makes when there is an obstruction in your airway. If you snore on a regular basis, you should take a sleep test. If you don’t have sleep apnea, many oral appliances are still effective for snoring relief.
Do Oral Appliances Really Work?
Yes. Oral appliances are just as effective as CPAP. In some cases, they are more effective because patients are more likely to use them consistently.
Is It Common for Dentists to Treat Sleep Apnea?
Yes. Since the invention of oral appliances, it’s become common for dentists to treat sleep apnea. Dentists have specialized knowledge of the jaw and upper airway that becomes helpful for effective sleep apnea treatment.
I Think I Have Sleep Apnea. What Is My First Step?
If you think you have sleep apnea, your first step should be to take a sleep test. Please contact Massa Dental Center and we will walk you through the entire process.
Get Sleep Apnea Treatment in Naples, FL
If you’re searching for an effective sleep apnea treatment option, please contact Massa Dental Center at (239) 597-7333 to book an appointment. Our Naples dentists will help you find an oral appliance that works for your lifestyle. We are also happy to answer any additional questions you might have about sleep apnea.