A serious condition called sleep apnea affects millions of Americans. This condition goes undiagnosed and over looked leaving many sufferers not knowing that they even have it. Below are answers to common sleep apnea questions to help you have a better understanding of sleep apnea and its possible treatments.
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is defined as one or more pauses in breathing while you sleep. Some people with sleep apnea may even stop breathing during the night. This may occur 5 to 30 times per hour and may happen several nights a week.
What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?
- Pauses of breath or cessation of breathing
- Loud snoring
- Gasping for breath during sleep
- Difficulty remembering
- Dry mouth and headaches after waking up
- Extreme daytime sleepiness
What treatment options are there for sleep apnea?
Treatments for mild sleep apnea include:
- Avoiding sleeping on your back
- Not consuming alcohol and sedative drugs
- Not smoking
- Reducing weight possibly
CPAP is recommended for severe cases of sleep apnea. This treatment uses a mask that is kept in place during sleep by bands. This mask is hooked up to a machine that keeps track of the air pressure that is sent through the mask to your airway. Your airway are kept open helping you sleep and breathe easier.
Surgery is another option to help open up the airway. Many sleep apnea sufferers do not want to resort to surgery or to wearing a mask at night. For mild to moderate sleep apnea, there is a variety of appliances that hold the lower jaw in a forward position. While a good option in susceptible individuals, the long term effect can be a TMJ problem.
The DNA appliance is designed for individuals whose airway problems are caused by underdeveloped jaws. Some causes of this disorder are:
- Not being breast fed as an infant
- Growing up in a household/smokers
- Lactose intolerance
- Tonsils and adenoids not being removed when indicated
- Orthodontic treatment which included the removal of permanent teeth
The DNA appliance triggers jaw growth and can actually cure the disorder vs. treating the symptoms.
If you feel you may have sleep apnea, please contact Wendling Cosmetic and Reconstructive Dentistry today. Dr. Sue Wendling, after a thorough evaluation, will be able to determine if you need treatment for this serious condition. We serve patients in Lake Oswego, Portland, and West Linn, Oregon.