Sleep Apnea Treatment
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder characterized by detrimental pauses in breathing throughout the night. These repeated breathing interruptions deprive the brain and organs of vital oxygen, which can cause serious and even fatal health consequences. At South River Dentistry, cosmetic dentist, Dr. Jeff Blackburn provides treatment for a type of sleep apnea known as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). OSA is caused when the soft tissues of the mouth and throat physically restrict and obstruct the airways during sleep. If you have been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, Dr. Blackburn may suggest a customized oral appliance designed to alleviate soft tissue blockages and facilitate proper breathing. For more information about obstructive sleep apnea and the treatments we offer, we encourage you to continue reading or contact our practice to schedule an appointment with Dr. Blackburn.
Signs, Symptoms, and Health Risks of Sleep Apnea
Signs that you may be suffering from obstructive sleep apnea can include:
- Morning headaches
- Loud, persistent snoring
- Pauses in breathing
- Awakening throughout the night
- Waking up gasping or choking for air
- Awakening with a dry mouth
Sleep disturbances and oxygen deprivation caused by sleep apnea can generate and exacerbate a wide range of physical and emotional health consequences. When sleep apnea is undiagnosed and untreated, health risks can become increasingly more acute and, in extreme cases, result in sudden death.
Symptoms and health risks associated with sleep apnea may include the following:
- High blood pressure
- Mental health concerns, including depression and anxiety
- Stroke, heart attack, and sudden cardiac death
- Weight gain
- Liver disease
- Acid reflux / GERD
With proper treatment for OSA, it can be possible to relieve challenged breathing while you sleep, which may reduce or altogether eliminate consequential health issues.
Treating Sleep Apnea
If you or your partner are noticing signs and symptoms of sleep apnea, it is important to visit a doctor right away. Scheduling an appointment with an experienced physician who can diagnose your obstructive sleep apnea is the first step in successful treatment. Dr. Blackburn can recommend trusted physicians who can perform the appropriate testing for accurate diagnosis.
Once you have been diagnosed, Dr. Blackburn can evaluate your oral structures and soft tissue to determine which type of custom positioning appliance is best suited for improving your breathing during sleep. Typically, these oral appliances provide effective treatment that is comparable to more expensive and cumbersome treatment options, such as the CPAP (continuous positive airway device). Ideally, your custom oral positioning device will help you maintain proper jaw placement as you sleep, which keeps the airway open and unrestricted throughout the night.
Results of Sleep Apnea Treatment
Achieving adequate rest and blood oxygenation levels during sleep can potentially transform your health if you have been suffering with sleep apnea. With regular use of oral positioning devices, many of Dr. Blackburn’s sleep apnea patients have experienced improvement in health conditions which were previously difficult to manage via medications and other medical treatments.
Contact South River Dentistry
For more information about obstructive sleep apnea and to explore the treatments Dr. Blackburn provides, please contact our office to schedule an appointment.