questions about sleep apnea

Questions About Sleep Apnea

questions about sleep apneaSummerlin, Las Vegas, and Henderson

Your Las Vegas sleep apnea dentist at Inspire Dental of Summerlin can diagnose and treat obstructive sleep apnea. Here are answers to frequently asked questions about this sleep breathing disorder.

What is obstructive sleep apnea?

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a sleep breathing disorder that occurs when the airway becomes blocked during sleep. As a result, you may experience pauses in your breathing, which may occur hundreds of times a night. During each instance, the brain will rouse you from sleep so that you may resume breathing. Each time this occurs, you are losing sleep, and suffering from a lack of oxygen. Sleep apnea often results in snoring, a common symptom of OSA.

Untreated sleep apnea could result in severe health consequences, even life-threatening problems such as:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Stroke
  • High blood pressure
  • Cognitive decline
  • Problems focusing
  • Memory problems
  • Impotence (lack of intimacy)
  • Headaches
  • Weight gain
  • Daytime fatigue
  • Death

Even though your snoring may not seem to bother you, it does in actuality. In fact, snoring disrupts your REM sleep, which is the deepest stage of the sleep cycle. It is during this stage that our bodies fully rest and rejuvenate. When snoring occurs, not only is your body not getting enough rest but it also is being starved of oxygen, which poses severe health risks.

What causes sleep apnea?

There are various causes of sleep apnea, and each patient is different. A common misconception is that OSA is often associated with overweight, middle-aged men. Although certain factors increase one’s risk of developing OSA, the truth is that it can affect almost anyone. Millions of Americans suffer from OSA. Many of which suffer in silence, because they are completely unaware of their sleep breathing disorder. It is important that if you experience symptoms associated with OSA that you undergo a consultation with a sleep apnea dentist such as Dr. Matthew Wilson.

Here is a look at common causes of OSA:

  • Being overweight
  • Enlarged tonsils or tongue
  • Small airway
  • Untreated tongue/lip ties
  • An uneven bite, jaw moves backward during sleep

Who is at risk for sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea can affect anyone of any age, even children or infants. It is estimated that nearly 18 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea, although it occurs more often in men than in women. Other risk factors may include snoring, and high blood pressure. Some experts believe that sleep apnea may even be hereditary.

What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?

Symptoms of a sleep breathing disorder may vary, but here is a look at the most common symptoms associated with OSA:

  • Headaches
  • Depression
  • Irritability or mood swings
  • Cognitive decline
  • Memory problems
  • Trouble focusing
  • Daytime fatigue
  • Snoring
  • Poor performance at work or school

How is sleep apnea diagnosed?

The best way to determine if you have sleep apnea is to undergo an airway evaluation by Summerlin sleep apnea dentist Dr. Wilson. If you snore loudly, are obese, or have high blood pressure, be sure to schedule a consultation with us at Inspire Dental of Summerlin, as you may be at risk for obstructive sleep apnea.

We will perform an airway assessment, as well as collect information from you regarding your sleep habits, and may ask if you experience symptoms most often related to OSA. Sometimes, a sleep study may be necessary to determine the severity of a patient’s sleep breathing disorder.

How is sleep apnea treated?

Treatment for sleep apnea will vary, depending on the age of the patient and the severity of their sleep apnea. At Inspire Dental of Summerlin, we often recommend treating sleep apnea with a custom-made oral appliance, instead of the CPAP machine. These oral appliances are made from impressions of your mouth, which means they have a secure fit. Plus, they are comfortable and convenient to wear, unlike the CPAP machine that typically causes irritation to the face, and is generally uncomfortable.

Why use oral appliance therapy to treat sleep apnea?

Studies have discovered that CPAP users are noncompliant after a few months of treatment, which means they leave themselves at risk for severe health consequences of untreated sleep apnea. Plus, the CPAP machine is notorious for being cumbersome, inconvenient, and uncomfortable. Furthermore, studies indicate that patients who wear an oral appliance to treat their sleep apnea are far more compliant with their treatment.

How does an oral appliance treat sleep apnea?

An oral appliance works by holding the lower jaw in proper alignment to facilitate an open airway. Often, the airway becomes blocked as a result of the lower jaw sliding backward, which collapses the airway and restricts airflow. The oral appliance combats this issue by slightly repositioning the lower jaw.

Will my sleep apnea go away?

No. In fact, the health consequences of untreated sleep apnea only worsen with time. Since sleep apnea involves a blockage of the airway, the only way to remedy the problem is to open the airway, which is the goal of an oral appliance.

Sleep Apnea Dentist in Summerlin

To learn more about sleep apnea, its causes or treatment, contact our office by calling (702) 331-4700 to schedule a consultation.

Inspire Dental of Summerlin welcomes patients of Henderson, Las Vegas, and Summerlin, Nevada.