If you suspect you suffer from sleep apnea, see your doctor right away to confirm. They can help identify potential sleep apnea symptoms. If they believe you may have sleep apnea, they can refer you to an ENT, pulmonologist or neurologist who will be able to diagnosis you. Once you have been diagnosed, it opens up your sleep apnea treatment options, including seeing your dentist for an oral appliance.
Did you know that when you see Dr. Paul Van Walleghem at Pointe Dental Group in Shelby Township or Grosse Pointe Farms, MI, we can treat your disorder and bill your medical insurance – reducing or eliminating your out-of-pocket cost! If you’ve been diagnosed and have questions, schedule an appointment with Dr. Paul, a Diplomate of the American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine and dentist at Pointe Dental Group.
So, what is sleep apnea and how do you know if you have it? Read on for information on the disorder and treatment options.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is the most common form of a sleep disorder in which breathing is briefly and repeatedly interrupted for a minimum of ten seconds during sleep. It occurs when the muscles in the back of the throat fail to keep the airway open. The result is disrupted sleep and low blood oxygen levels which can cause hypertension, heart disease, mood swings, and memory problems.
Read our article answering the top 5 questions about sleep apnea!
Symptoms & Diagnosis
If you have ever woke yourself up snoring or thought to yourself, “why am I so tired,” you might be experiencing symptoms of sleep apnea disorder. Often people with sleep apnea tend to be sleep deprived and suffer from a wide range of other symptoms such as difficulty concentrating, depression, irritability, sexual dysfunction, learning and memory difficulties, and falling asleep while at work, on the phone, or driving.
If you think you might be experiencing sleep apnea, here are some signs to look for:
- Excessive daytime sleepiness or fatigue
- Dry mouth or sore throat upon waking
- Morning headaches
- Trouble with memory, concentration, or mood swings
- Night sweats
- Restlessness during sleep
- Sexual dysfunction
- Sudden moments of wakefulness accompanied by a feeling of gasping or choking
- Trouble getting up in the morning
Sleep apnea is a serious medical condition, and must be diagnosed by a physician. The first step to diagnosing sleep apnea is to participate in a sleep study. This process provides information regarding apneas (when breathing stops) and hypopneas (when breathing is shallow due to an obstruction) as well as pulse, blood pressure, and other physiological processes such as REM sleep, EEG, and leg or arm jerking.
Once a diagnosis is made, the severity can be classified and treatment options can be presented by a sleep apnea dentist. Pointe Dental Group offers appointments to help you understand and treat sleep apnea in both our Shelby Township and Grosse Pointe Farms offices.
Sleep Apnea Treatment Options
Approximately 25 million adults in the U.S. have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which can cause them to stop breathing hundreds of times a night for anywhere from a few seconds to more than a minute. To treat this disorder, there are three common methods.
#1 Oral Appliance Therapy
A dentist specializing in sleep medicine can prescribe the use of a dental oral appliance as a sleep apnea treatment. This is a medical procedure and is often covered by your medical health insurance! A dental appliance is similar to orthodontic retainers or sports mouth guards. They reposition the lower jaw, tongue, soft palate and uvula to help you maintain an open, unobstructed airway while you sleep.
#2 Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) Machines
A CPAP machine is a bedside appliance with a mask that fits over the nose and/or mouth, and gently blows air into your airway to help keep it open during sleep. The air is delivered through a tube that connects the machine and mask. Like a balloon, your airway opens and expands as air is blown into it. CPAP machines are among the most commonly prescribed solutions.
#3 Surgical Procedures
In some cases, oral and ear, nose, and throat (ENT) medical doctors may recommend treating an upper airway obstruction through surgery, utilizing both minimally invasive procedures as well as more complex surgery, like jaw advancement.
Additionally, an ENT specialist may evaluate you for other types of surgery, mainly the removal of the excess tissues in the throat. It may be necessary to remove tonsils and adenoids (especially in children), the uvula, or even parts of the soft palate and the throat.
Dr. Paul Van Walleghem – Dental Sleep Medicine Diplomate
Dr. Paul Van Walleghem is formally educated in dental sleep medicine and is an American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine (ABDSM) Diplomate. ABDSM is the board for the leading national organization for dentists who treat snoring and obstructive sleep apnea with oral appliance therapy, an effective alternative treatment to the CPAP machine.
If you suffer from snoring or experience unsatisfying sleep, Pointe Dental can help. We offer sleep apnea services at our locations in Shelby Township and Grosse Pointe Farms in Metro Detroit.
Start Your Sleep Apnea Treatment – Schedule an Appointment!
The dental professionals at Pointe Dental Group can answer all your questions about sleep apnea and start your treatment. Schedule an appointment with our dentists in today!
Grosse Pointe Farms: (313) 881-2480
Shelby Township: (586) 803-8300
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