In this post, our dentists in Victoria discuss how dentists can assist you in receiving a sleep apnea diagnosis and resolving your concerns.
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a breathing disorder that causes pauses in breathing and shallow breaths while sleeping. These pauses in breathing can last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes, and they can happen up to 30 times (or more) per night. After each pause, normal breathing resumes, usually with a choking sound or a loud snort.
Breathing problems, as you might expect, can disrupt your sleep and lead to a variety of complications that can harm your overall health, including a higher risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, and heart attack. It increases the risk of an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) and being involved in a car or workplace accident.
Why does sleep apnea often go undiagnosed?
Sleep apnea is frequently misdiagnosed because it cannot be detected by a blood test or during a routine checkup.
Mild Sleep Apnea
For moderate to mild sleep apnea, simple, non-invasive treatments such as oral appliances or weight loss are commonly used (since being overweight is sometimes a primary cause of sleep apnea).
Severe sleep Apnea
Patients with severe sleep apnea are usually advised to use CPAP by their dentists (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure). Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is the most common treatment for obstructive sleep apnea, which uses air pressure to keep the airway open while you sleep.
Inspire therapy is a treatment option for patients who cannot or will not benefit from CPAP on a consistent basis. Inspire monitors your breathing while you sleep and sends mild stimulation to the nerve that controls the movement of your tongue and other muscles in your airway to keep it open.