Sleep Apnea Treatment in Jacksonville
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 50-70 million Americans suffer from sleep related disorders. Two of the more prevalent sleep disorders are obstructive sleep apnea and snoring. At North Jacksonville Complete Dentistry, our Dunn Avenue dentists provide sleep apnea and snoring treatment to the residents of Northside Jacksonville. To help guide patients through the process of diagnosis and treatment, we have included some frequently asked questions with corresponding answers below. As always, feel free to contact us by clicking here or call us at (904)751-4958!
What is obstructive sleep apnea?
Apnea is defined as a "cessation of breath". Obstructive sleep apnea happens when the soft tissues of the mouth and throat relax and close off the airway during sleep. When we are awake, our brain simply forces air past these tissues. By contrast, during sleep many people have periods of time when they do not breath. Each of these can occur individually but are often found together.
What are the dangers of Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea is extremely dangerous. To simplify things, when the brain notices that insufficient oxygen is being delivered, it tells the cardiovascular system to work harder than normal. The American Sleep Apnea Association states that people suffering from obstructive sleep apnea are at a higher risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, accidents, diabetes, and depression.
Who is at risk?
Anyone can suffer from obstructive sleep apnea or snoring. That said, some people fall in a much higher risk category. The highest risk category would be a heavy set man that smokes and consumes alcohol in the evening but any of these factors can increase risk.
What are the signs and symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea?
People that suffer from obstructive sleep apnea often find themselves waking from sleep gasping for air. Others do not know they have the disease at all. People often find themselves fatigued in the mornings, experiencing headaches upon arousal, feeling depressed or grumpy, never feeling fully rested, or feeling drowsy during the morning or day. Often a bed partner can be of great assistance in finding signs and symptoms. Many bed partners report snoring, cessations of breathing, and teeth grinding.
How can I obtain a diagnosis?
A bed partner generally can give a pretty accurate diagnosis for snoring. A diagnosis for obstructive sleep apnea is provided by a sleep physician. Some physicians have take-home studies that can be used for assistance for diagnosing obstructive sleep apnea. Others will bring patients into a special facility and monitor sleep nd measure factors like heartbeat, oxygen levels, and arousal.
How is Obstructive Sleep Apnea Treated?
The gold standard for obstructive sleep apnea management is the CPAP. CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure. Essentially the CPAP gently forces air through the airway to help overcome the obstruction. At this time, all studies show that the CPAP is the most effective method of treatment. So why isn't it the only treatment? One of the main problems with the CPAP is lack of compliance in use. Many people find that they simply cannot tolerate the mask and attachments and they do not wear it as a result. This is obviously dangerous.
As a result of this major challenge, the dentist has become one of the more valuable team members in the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea and snoring. As stated above, an accurate diangosis is necessary. Dr. Johnson works with local sleep physicians to obtain a diagnosis. From there, a discussion can ensue regarding treatment. If all parties agree that the dental appliance is a good treatment option, we can fabricate the appliance.
To simplify things, the dental appliance protrudes the jaw forward. Soft tissues in the mouth and throat that were once blocking the airway are now gently stretched. This allows the safe passage of air through the airway. The body now can recieve a healthy inflow of oxygen.
If you would like any more information or would like to recieve a consultation, feel free to contact us at any time by clicking here or calling at (904)751-4958.