Sleep Apnea and Snoring Treatment for Bonita Springs
Millions of Americans suffer from sleep apnea and snoring, and many are unaware. Untreated sleep apnea can have disastrous consequences. Recent years have placed dentistry at the forefront of sleep apnea treatment. Pelican Landing Dental provides sleep apnea treatment for the residents of Bonita Springs, Estero, and surrounding areas.
We understand that many Americans know very little about sleep apnea. As a result, we have provided some general information about sleep apnea and snoring. If you have further questions, we would be happy to hear from you.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Apnea simply means the absence of breath. There are two main types of sleep apnea, obstructive and central. Central sleep apnea occurs from malfunctions in the central nervous system. This type is much more rare and will not be discussed here.
The most common form of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is essentially caused by an over-relaxation of the throat muscles during sleep. As a result, the lungs do not bring oxygen into the body. This can happen as many as dozens of times per hour.
Why is Sleep Apnea Dangerous?
Obstructive sleep apnea is dangerous because it causes a lack of oxygen in the body. Since the lungs are not fully oxygenating the blood, the heart must work overtime to compensate by pushing an increased volume of blood to other organs. Heart muscles are being placed at an extreme risk by being overworked while simultaneously being in an extremely oxygen deficient environment. This may directly lead to a heart attack.
In addition, sleep is adversely affected from these episodes. Concentration and awareness can be decreased which can reduce the quality of life.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?
Many people never know they suffer from sleep apnea because some cases do not result in waking during sleep. The following are some signs and symptoms of sleep apnea:
- Waking in the night with a feeling of breathlessness
- Abnormal dry mouth upon during waking
- Reduced concentration or awareness especially during mornings and mid-day
- Morning headaches
- Snoring (often reported by sleep partner)
- Waking with the feeling of a lack of a good night’s sleep
Traditional Sleep Apnea Treatment
The gold standard for sleep apnea treatment, particularly severe apnea, for years has been the CPAP. The CPAP (pictured) is a device worn over the face during sleep. This machine forces air into the upper airway en route to the lungs. This is made to overcome the obstruction and allow for adequate oxygen intake.
Although the CPAP is an effective treatment, it has one major drawback. Patients consistently report that the CPAP is uncomfortable and many people do not use it at all as a result. If not worn, no benefit can be derived.
The Dental Treatment for Sleep Apnea (CPAP Alternative)
For well over a decade now, dental treatment for sleep apnea has been recognized by the American Sleep Apnea Association and the FDA as the first recommended treatment for mild to moderate sleep apnea (up to 29 episodes per hour). Most importantly, the dental appliance is reported by most as being comfortable and as a result is worn nightly!
Since the soft tissues in the throat create an obstruction to airflow, removing these obstructions is paramount in opening the airway and allowing optimal oxygen intake. A custom made dental appliance gently holds the lower jaw in a forward position. This essentially prevents the throat muscles from collapsing and therein holds the airway open.
Snoring and Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea is actually the progression of snoring. As a snorer ages, gains weight, or consumes alcohol he or she becomes at an ever increasing risk of sleep apnea. As such, it is vital for snorers to be screened for sleep apnea, a service which we provide free of charge at Pelican Landing Dental. If given a positive screening test result, one should be properly evaluated by a sleep physician utilizing a sleep study. However, if you snore but do not have apnea, Pelican Landing Dental can fabricate you a comfortable “snore device” to end your snoring today. For those of us who do suffer from apnea, a different "apnea appliance" can be fabricated following a medical diagnosis. This diagnosis allows medical insurance to be billed for your apnea treatment. Additionally, our office will provide all the necessary follow-up to ensure a successful treatment outcome – including the restoration of oxygen levels!