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Signs & Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
- Waking up with a choking sensation or gasping for air
- Insomnia or waking constantly throughout the night
- Excessive daytime fatigue
- Loud snoring
- Irritability and sudden mood changes
- Difficulty concentrating
- Morning Headaches
- Waking up with dry mouth or sore throat
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep Apnea is caused when the tissues in your throat collapse during the night, blocking your airway and preventing you from breathing normally. Sleep Apnea can wake you up throughout the night, which prevents you from entering the REM stage of sleep. Because Sleep Apnea affects the deepest, most crucial stage of the sleep cycle, it can leave you feeling tired the next day, and prevent you from functioning at your maximum potential.
Long Term Effects of Sleep Apnea
If you are putting off seeking treatment for Sleep Apnea because you’re afraid it means having to wear an unflattering sleep machine at night, great news! There are now more options and treatments than ever. When left untreated, Sleep Apnea can lead to major health risks such as:
- High Blood Pressure
- Heart Disease
Please don’t wait. Ask your dentist today about getting tested for Sleep Apnea, and we will work with you to find the best treatment plan for you!
How is Sleep Apnea Diagnosed?
In order to accurately diagnose sleep apnea, patients may be referred to a sleep specialist for a medical assessment. It is also important to consult with your dentist, who may perform an intraoral exam, which involves specialized x-rays, intraoral photos, gag reflex check, orthopedic exams, and the Epworth Sleepiness Scale. These tests will help us determine the most effective position for your lower jaw to open your airway. South Carolina Dental Center has had success treating sleep apnea with a nighttime orthotic appliance that is thinner, lighter, and more comfortable than a bulky CPAP mask. This appliance will be customized especially for you. Depending on the severity of your condition, other repositioning devices may be considered.
Sleep Apnea Treatment Plans & Snoring Solutions
- Oral Appliances: Very similar to a nighttime mouth guard, it gently shifts your jaw forward to prevent your airway from collapsing during the night. Ideal for the less severe cases of sleep apnea, and more practical for everyday use.
- Lifestyle Changes: In addition to other treatments, your dentist may recommend a healthier diet or exercise to improve and promote weight loss. Sometimes limiting alcohol and smoking consumption, throat exercises, or even special pillows can be the solution for Sleep Apnea.
- Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) Machines: Traditional Method for treating Sleep Apnea, which delivers continuous airflow through a mask that adjusts around your face. Though many find the machine to be noisy, uncomfortable, and inconvenient. Used in cases of severe Sleep Apnea.
Interested in seeing if you have sleep apnea? Or, are you looking for a sleep apnea specialist near Columbia? Call us at 803-254-4543 to schedule a sleep apnea assessment!