Put an End to Your Restless Nights
Living with sleep apnea is a physically and emotionally exhausting experience. Sleep deprivation can lead to memory issues, daytime fatigue, mood swings, high blood pressure, and an increased risk of a major cardiac event.
Having your sleep apnea evaluated by a professional and beginning a treatment program is vital to your health and well-being.
Diagnosing Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a frequently under-diagnosed sleep-disordered breathing condition because many symptoms can seem harmless and not worthy of discussion with a doctor. Conversely, it’s also tempting for someone to read about sleep apnea, recognize the more obvious signs, and try to treat the disorder at home.
Remember that sleep apnea can be detrimental to your long-term health and should be taken seriously. Furthermore, there are different forms of sleep apnea, including obstructive, central, and complex. A doctor or sleep specialist is the only professional who can form an accurate diagnosis for your sleep apnea.
Common Sleep Apnea Symptoms
A doctor can diagnose sleep apnea in a few ways, but the very first step is a discussion about your symptoms. You’ll talk about what you’ve been experiencing and discuss any lifestyle or medical factors that could be contributing.
Your doctor will ask if you’ve been:
- Snoring regularly.
- Open-mouth breathing during the night.
- Waking up suddenly for no apparent reason.
- Waking up with a dry mouth, sore throat, or headache.
- Experiencing daytime sleepiness, despite getting enough hours.
- Experiencing shifts in your mood, such as being easily confused or irritated.
If your doctor suspects you have signs of sleep apnea, they’ll typically move forward with a sleep test to get a definitive answer.
Testing for Sleep Apnea
There are two popular sleep apnea tests: nocturnal polysomnography and a home sleep test.
A home sleep test is the most popular choice if your symptoms indicate uncomplicated obstructive sleep apnea. Nocturnal polysomnography is best for more advanced or unusual symptoms because it shows a broad range of data, like lung and brain activity, body movement, breathing patterns, and more.
Treating Sleep Apnea
After receiving a positive diagnosis, it’s time to find a treatment option that will give you relief from your symptoms.
Your doctor or sleep specialist can offer guidance, as can the Ada Smile Place team! Our dentists have joined the growing number of dental practices that include sleep-disordered breathing therapy and treatment as part of their complete health approach to patient care. We’ll work together with your sleep physician to determine the best course of action for treating your sleep apnea.
Popular Treatment Methods
Sleep apnea can be treated in several ways, including:
- CPAP or BiPAP machines.
- Oral appliances.
- Lifestyle changes.
- Oral Surgery.
CPAP and BiPAP machines effectively treat obstructive sleep apnea because they use air to keep your airway open while sleeping. However, these machines require a facial mask to direct the air through the nose or mouth. Some people find these masks uncomfortable, leaving them unable to sleep well.
Oral appliances, like mandibular advancement devices, are a helpful alternative. They maintain an open airway by adjusting the jaw’s position and preventing it from moving too far backward while sleeping. Although they also take some getting used to, many people find them much more comfortable than a CPAP mask.
Lifestyle changes, like stopping smoking and maintaining a healthy weight, can also help relieve your symptoms or make treatment more effective. Oral surgery is typically a last resort when other treatment options have been exhausted.
Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy
CPAP machines and oral appliances aren’t the only methods of treating sleep apnea. Orofacial myofunctional therapy can independently treat obstructive sleep apnea in many cases, or you can combine it with a standard treatment plan.
Myofunctional therapy is like physical therapy for your facial and oral muscles, including your lips, tongue, cheeks, and throat. Like physical therapy for an ankle injury, myofunctional therapy utilizes simple but effective exercises that you’ll practice daily to gain better control over your muscles and their movement. You’ll learn them with your therapist, continue them at home, and return for checkups to assess your progress.
Myofunctional therapy for sleep apnea treatment can be incredibly effective if a myofunctional disorder could be causing or contributing to your condition. Capitalizing on the body’s natural muscle memory, you’ll learn to train your tongue movement to prevent it from falling back while sleeping and improve your throat muscle control for easier breathing.
Ada Smile Place’s Lindsey Edwards is a registered dental hygienist and our dedicated orofacial myofunctional therapist. She will evaluate your current facial muscle movement and create a therapy plan to relieve sleep apnea symptoms.
Learn more with a one-on-one consultation.
Ada Smile Place is your destination if you’re searching for the best dentist near Ada, OK.
If you’re concerned about your breathing, suspect you have sleep apnea, or have already been diagnosed and need help with treatment, we warmly welcome you to book a consultation. After we’ve helped you relieve your sleep apnea, you can continue seeing us for all your dental care needs.