Sleep apnea is an obstructive sleep disorder that causes one’s breathing to repeatedly stop and start in their sleep (“apnea” refers to a pause in the breath that lasts at least ten seconds). If left untreated, the condition can have several negative effects on an individual’s health and well-being. At Lee Family Dental Care, you can find treatment for sleep apnea in Worcester, MA.
There are generally two forms of sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea, where the breathing is interrupted during sleep, is caused by the muscles in the back of the throat that fail to keep the airway open. Central sleep apnea, on the other hand, is caused by the brain failing to send the proper signals to control breathing during sleep. It is far less common than obstructive sleep apnea.
You probably know that sleep is important to your overall health. When your body is unable to receive enough oxygen during sleep due to the stop and start of your breathing, it can lead to restless sleep and low blood oxygen levels. This can lead to hypertension, heart disease, and problems with your mood and memory. Besides these long-term problems, sleep apnea can also cause tiredness during the day and drowsy driving.
Long-term effects, in addition to those mentioned above, include heart attack, congestive heart failure, cardiac arrhythmia, and stroke.
To receive treatment for sleep apnea at Lee Family Dental Care, you will first have to be diagnosed by a doctor. The most common way to diagnose sleep apnea is through a sleep study performed in a lab, in which functions like sleep state, eye movement, heart rate, respiratory effort, airflow, and blood oxygen levels are monitored. Once the diagnosis has been made, sleep apnea treatment at our dentistry in Worcester, MA consists of oral appliance therapy. An oral appliance – a custom-fit, mouth-guard like device – will be worn during sleep to keep the usually obstructed airway sufficiently open to improve breathing during sleep.