Sleep Apnea Treatment
Sleep apnea is a serious health problem that affects more than 24 million people in the US. Unfortunately, more than 80 percent of those cases are undiagnosed.
If your sleep partner complains about your loud snoring, or you can’t stay awake during the day, you may be dealing with symptoms of sleep apnea. It is crucial not to ignore them as the consequences of untreated sleep apnea can be life-threatening.
Dr. Holly Baller understands the serious nature of sleep apnea and provides personalized solutions at her Aurora dental office. If any of the symptoms discussed below apply to you, please call Baller Dental & Orthodontics at Southlands, so we can see you promptly and explore solutions.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a sleep-related breathing disorder that occurs when soft tissue and muscles in your throat soften and relax as your body prepares for sleep. For some, this softening causes the airway to become partially or completely obstructed, which is why it’s referred to as obstructive sleep apnea or OSA.
A sleep apnea episode is characterized by loud snoring, shallow breathing, and pauses in breathing that can last 10 seconds or longer. These episodes can occur hundreds of times in one night, and the effects on your general health are numerous.
Unfortunately, many patients are unaware that their daytime fatigue or inability to concentrate results from sleep apnea, and it often goes undiagnosed.
How Do I Know if I Have Sleep Apnea?
Excessive or loud snoring is one of the common symptoms of sleep apnea, but you may not be aware of it if you live alone. Instead, the results of sufficient restful sleep show up during daytime hours when you experience:
- Fatigue, even though you felt you slept for hours
- Inability to concentrate or focus on tasks
- Irritability and mood swings
- Drowsy-driving accidents
The effects that OSA has on your general health and well-being are numerous and serious. Because the body is deprived of oxygen for extended periods, sleep apnea puts a strain on your cardiovascular system. This can lead to high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke, irregular heartbeats, and other long-term health effects. Untreated sleep apnea has even been attributed to a shortened lifespan.
Sleep Apnea Oral Appliance Therapy
The first-line treatment for moderate to severe sleep apnea is a CPAP mask worn during sleep, but compliance is notoriously low. Patients don’t like the feeling of being restricted or dislike the noise the machine makes, and it ends up sitting unused in a closet.
If you have a CPAP mask that you can’t tolerate wearing, our Aurora sleep apnea dentist offers a simpler, more comfortable solution that might work for you. Working with your sleep physician, Dr. Baller can determine if oral appliance therapy like a mandibular advancement device would be a safe alternative for you.
Also referred to as M.A.D., this device is worn during sleep and repositions your lower jaw slightly forward. In this position, your tongue cannot fall back and obstruct your breathing. If Dr. Baller finds that this is the right solution, your device will be custom-made for you and adjusted for your particular situation.
Sleep Apnea and Orthodontics
While many cases of sleep apnea are muscle-related, tooth or jaw misalignment can also cause OSA. Because Dr. Baller is experienced in orthodontics, she may recommend Invisalign aligners or traditional braces to correct the misalignment.
Expert Sleep Apnea Treatment in Aurora, CO
If your partner complains of your loud snoring or you experience any of the symptoms described above, please don't wait to contact us. Untreated sleep apnea impacts your health and quality of life, but we can help you sleep restfully again.