Sleep apnea is quite common among Americans, but it often goes undiagnosed because it can easily be mistaken for snoring. However, sleep apnea is much more serious than snoring throughout the night. Sleep apnea can harm your ability to get restful sleep and even increase your risk of high blood pressure, stroke, and heart attacks. Because sleep apnea can be serious, it’s important to know the signs. Dr. Richard Higgs is an American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine Member, and an expert in treatments for sleep apnea and snoring.
If you suffer from sleep apnea, Aquila Dental can help!
UNDERSTANDING obstructive sleep apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea is caused by the soft tissues in the mouth, palate and throat relaxing during sleep. When this happens, the tissue may “fall,” and block the airway temporarily.
This often causes breathing to be cut off for 10 seconds or more, and also causes severe snoring. Airflow to the lungs is restricted, which can cause blood to become poorly oxygenated, leading to a variety of different physical symptoms.
Most commonly, sleep apnea interferes with the ability to get restful sleep, but other serious symptoms such as elevated blood pressure or restricted blood flow to the brain can occur in some cases.
recognizing the signs and symptoms of sleep apnea
Wondering how you can recognize sleep apnea and distinguish it from regular snoring? Here are some telltale signs of sleep apnea that you should be on the lookout for:
- Memory loss or confusion
- Jerking awake with a gasp or a snort
- Prolonged, incessant snoring
- Night sweating and tossing/turning
- Dry or sore mouth/throat when you wake
- Headaches and migraines, particularly when you first wake up
- Irritability, weariness
- Daytime sleepiness, never feeling fully rested
Only a professional sleep specialist or another qualified doctor can diagnose you or your partner with sleep apnea. However, if you recognize one or more of these signs and symptoms, this is a good indicator that you should seek medical help.
EXPLORE sleep apnea’s treatment options
There are several treatment options for sleep apnea. In some cases, it may simply be recommended that patients make several lifestyle changes, such as exercising, losing weight or sleeping on their back instead of their side or stomach.
Oral appliances are the most common treatment for patients with mild cases of sleep apnea. These appliances, which are shaped like a mouthguard or retainer, help strengthen and reposition the muscles and tissue in the mouth and palate, preventing tissue relaxation.
CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machines are also used to treat sleep apnea. These machines blow air gently into the mouth and lungs during sleep, maintaining a gentle level of pressure that prevents tissue from obstructing the airway.
In rare cases, surgery may be required to remove soft tissue, but this is usually only required for the most extreme cases of obstructive sleep apnea.
come to aquila dental for sleep apnea treatment
Dr. Richard Higgs is a highly experienced professional specializing in the treatment of sleep apnea with oral appliances. If you suspect that you or your partner is suffering from sleep apnea, schedule an appointment right away. Sleep apnea is more than just a snore. It can negatively impact your health and ability to sleep and increase the risk of stroke and heart attack.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment at (480) 812-2800, or come to our office for a visit at 3175 S. Price Rd., Ste. 140, Chandler, AZ 85248. We look forward to seeing you, and helping you get the treatment that you need! Not sure if we’re right for you? Take a look at some of our past patient testimonials now!