Do you snore loudly? Are you finding it difficult to stay asleep at night because of sleep apnea? Your sleep partner might have complained about it. Sleep apnea is a common disorder that affects millions of Americans each year. Sleep apnea occurs when the soft tissues at the back of the throat collapse during sleep, blocking the upper airway and interrupting normal breathing. This can make a person snore loudly or make gasping sounds when they try to breathe. In addition to interrupted sleep, sleep apnea has been linked to high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, depression, and other serious health problems. Fortunately, there are treatment options available from your general dentist to help you combat the effects of this common condition.
CPAP Machines and Masks
Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines are used to ease the symptoms of sleep apnea by forcing air through the airways at a pressure high enough to prevent apnea from occurring. The device consists of a mask that is placed over the mouth or nose and a tube that connects the mask to the machine itself. The machine is usually kept on a bedside table, while the mask is to be worn at night while sleeping. The machine is programmed to automatically deliver air pressure throughout the night as the patient sleeps. The pressure required to relieve sleep apnea symptoms can be very high and can even make it difficult to exhale against the pressure in a continuous manner. Because of this, it’s important to work with a dentist who can fit you with a mask that will help you breathe easily through the night as you use the machine.
Oral Appliance Therapy
An oral appliance is a custom-made mouthpiece that opens the airways to increase airflow during sleep. They can be utilized to treat mild cases of sleep apnea or in cases where CPAP therapy is either not desired or not tolerated well. Because they only need to be worn at night and are adjustable in nature, many patients find these appliances to be much more convenient than CPAP machines. They are typically made of materials that are comfortable to wear for extended periods of time. Similar to CPAP devices, custom-fitted devices are best because they are more comfortable to wear and more effective at eliminating the effects of sleep apnea.
A variety of surgical procedures can be used to correct sleep apnea. Some involve removing excess tissue in the throat and nasal passages, while others include modifying the structure of the jaw. These procedures are usually used as a last resort when other treatments have failed to help a patient alleviate their condition.
To schedule your appointment with us, contact Korte Family Dentistry at (402) 489-3115 or visit us at 3901 Normal Blvd STE 202, Lincoln, NE 68506. We will be happy to guide you further.