Sleep apnea is a potentially severe sleep disorder where the affected individual stops breathing repeatedly and starts when sleeping. You may be having a problem with sleep apnea if you snore loudly, feel tired after a full night’s sleep, or find yourself irritable during the day.
Treatment for sleep apnea also available in the form of the CPAP machine but is not preferred by many patients because of the discomfort it causes and does not allow the affected individual to adhere to it. However, innovations made in treatments are presently allowing patients to obtain sleep apnea treatments from the dentist in Worcester, MA, instead of merely going by the advice of sleep medicine specialists who often recommend the CPAP machine.
The symptoms of obstructive and central sleep apnea are similar making it difficult even for sleep medicine specialists to determine which type is affecting the patient. The most common symptoms affecting people with these two varieties of sleep apnea include loud snoring, gasping for air when sleeping, difficulty staying asleep, awakening with a dry mouth, excessive daytime sleepiness, and others.
Loud snoring is an issue that indicates a potentially severe problem. However, the possibility of people having sleep apnea and not snoring is also evident. Patients experiencing the symptoms of sleep apnea must discuss the issue with their doctor or dentist, especially if it causes them to be fatigued, irritable, and sleepy.
Mild Sleep Apnea affects people when the muscles in the back of their throat relax too narrow the airway as they breathe. The lack of air lowers the oxygen level in their blood, causing their brain to sense their inability to breathe and rouse them up. The awakening is brief, and the patient usually does not remember it.
Sleep apnea can affect everyone, including children, and the pattern can repeat itself 5 to 30 times or more every hour during the night to impair the patient’s ability to have a restful phase of sleep.
Patients with moderate sleep apnea will also suffer similar episodes and wake up repeatedly during the night and must, therefore, consider seeking treatment either from a physician or the Worcester dentist.
Patients or their partners who suspect sleep apnea is affecting their partner should contact their primary care doctor for an assessment. They may be referred to a sleep medicine specialist immediately to diagnose whether sleep apnea is affecting the individual.
Sleep medicine specialists usually recommend that patients undergo a polysomnography test at a sleep clinic, which requires the patient to subject themselves to an intrusive test. The patient must stay at the sleep clinic overnight with tubes and wires attached to the body and try to sleep.
Alternatively, the sleep medicine specialist may recommend a home sleep apnea test that is more comfortable and can deliver proper results but not as accurate as the polysomnography test. Patients diagnosed as positive of sleep apnea will be referred back to the doctor or dentist who recommended they undergo a sleep apnea test.
Patients needing obstructive sleep apnea treatment or central sleep apnea treatment will benefit from using the CPAP machine, which delivers air pressure through a mask when they are sleeping. The CPAP machine is helpful to keep the upper airway passages open to prevent sleep apnea and snoring. However, the device is uncomfortable, and some people find it cumbersome.
Sleep apnea treatment in Worcester, MA, offers oral appliances customized to keep the throat open. The oral appliances are easier to use and are designed to open the throat of the patient by pushing the jaw forward. It helps to relieve snoring and mild obstructive sleep apnea. Dentists are the pioneers of oral appliances and have several devices available for treating this condition. Therefore, patients may need to try different methods before they eventually find one that works for them.
The Worcester dentist must be seen repeatedly during the first year after the patient finds the right fit. The appointments must continue regularly to ensure the oral appliance fits appropriately and to reassess the signs and symptoms of sleep apnea.