Here at our office, we find that many of our patients are surprised to hear that a dentist first identifies the majority of sleep apnea cases. While a formal diagnosis requires a sleep specialist, dentists may see several signs pointing to sleep apnea during routine exams. Normally, after a few questions to confirm the dentist’s suspicions, the dentist suggests the sleep disorder as a cause and refers the patient to a sleep specialist.
Our sleep apnea dentist in San Francisco has years of experience helping patients dealing with sleep apnea. He knows that it is a serious medical condition and urges our patients not to take the possibility of the illness lightly.
As is true with most disorders, sleep apnea responds best to treatment when it is still early in the course of the illness. Many people still think that sleep apnea is a problem with loud snoring. While snoring is a part of the equation, sleep apnea increases a patient’s risk of developing one or more serious chronic illnesses.
To help your awareness of the signs of sleep apnea, here are some of the early signs that you may have sleep apnea.
• Daytime sleepiness- Patients getting eight hours of sleep should not be continually sleepy. If you sleep a reasonable amount of time each night, and you are still sleepy during the day, sleep apnea may be the cause.
• Chronic, long-lasting headaches- If you experience headaches on a daily basis and you notice they are lasting longer than a normal headache, talk to our dentist.
• Choking and gasping for air during sleep
• Depression or agitation
• The need to urinate during sleep
• The inability to focus, retain information, concentrate, or other learning-related problems
• Falling asleep during daily activities such as during class or while driving
If you have signs pointing to sleep apnea, do not hesitate to contact our office. Our dentist can check your symptoms and, if necessary, refer you to a sleep specialist for a formal diagnosis. You deserve to rest well, and we are here to help you enjoy sound sleep again.
It does not come as a surprise that sleep apnea negatively impacts over ten-million people every year. Our San Francisco dentist helps improve the sleep and the overall health of many of our patients who have sleep disorders.
Because sleep apnea typically comes with loud snoring, many people believe it is more of a nuisance than a health concern. One troublesome aspect of sleep apnea is that those with the disorder stop breathing momentarily. This can lead to oxygen deprivation. Additionally, the cessation of breathing wakes the sufferer, preventing deep, restful sleep. While the loud snoring is bothersome and may disturb the rest of others, sleep apnea often comes with serious and even potentially life-threatening health problems.
One of the most prevalent health issues that our sleep apnea dentist in San Francisco notices is excessive fatigue. This issue occurs with sleep apnea because the deepest level of sleep is unattainable due to constant waking. Prolonged lack of sleep and the accompanying exhaustion lead to clouded judgment, depression, over-eating, forgetfulness, and falling asleep while working or driving. Recent studies show that sleep apnea sufferers are five times more likely to cause car accidents than drivers who sleep well.
Another health problem seen with sleep apnea patients is high blood pressure. The continuous cycle of sleeping and waking causes excessive stress on your body. The stress activates hormones which in turn raise blood pressure.
Type two diabetes presents in about 80 percent of sleep apnea cases. Your body cannot use insulin properly because of the increased strain from sleep deprivation. The extra stress your body endures also drives up blood glucose levels which contribute to diabetes.
Heart disease links to sleep apnea because the disorder deprives the heart of oxygen. This takes a toll on the heart and can lead to episodes of atrial fibrillation because the brain cannot control the way blood flows during the waking and sleeping cycles.
As you can see, sleep apnea has significant impacts on your health. Our dentist understands sleep apnea and has a variety of devices and treatment plans readily available. If sleep apnea is a problem for you, contact our office for an appointment so you can rest easy once again.
Many patients are surprised to hear that a dental professional can see the early signs of sleep apnea sooner than a medical doctor. A large percentage of the ten-million people suffering from sleep apnea first learn that they have symptoms of the disorder from their dentist.
Our dentist is a highly trained sleep apnea dentist in San Francisco who has spent many years helping patients who are robbed of their sleep and oral health by the disorder. A well-trained dentist such as our dentist is able to spot even subtle signs of dental damage that comes from sleep apnea.
Here are the most common dental problems caused by sleep apnea.
• Dry Mouth- While dry mouth seems like an uncomfortable inconvenience than a serious issue, it often leads to other, more severe dental problems. Dry mouth occurs along with sleep apnea because patients with the disorder are typically mouth breathers while they are sleeping. When there is not enough saliva present in your mouth, bacteria grow and multiply, unchecked. Excessive bacteria are a cause of many dental problems including gum disease.
• Teeth Grinding- Formally known as bruxism, repeated grinding of your teeth while you are asleep is symptomatic of sleep apnea and can wreak havoc on your oral health. Sleep apnea patients often experience bruxism because it is the brain’s way of attempting to wake the patient so that they breathe normally. We see patients with sleep apnea experience cracked teeth, tooth enamel that is worn away, waking up with headaches, stiff necks, and jaw pain because of bruxism.
• Temporomandibular Joint Disorder- This painful ailment is often a result of ongoing sleep apnea. The joint experiences excessive wear because of the long-term teeth grinding associated with sleep apnea. After exposure to extreme pressure from bruxism over a period of time, a patient’s temporomandibular joint suffers from inflammation and dislocation. The pain is severe and successful treatment takes time.
If you believe that you experience sleep apnea, talk with our dentist for helpful suggestions along with a thorough examination.
Sleeping disorders can invade multiple areas of your life and keep you from feeling your best. But what if you are unsure whether you have one? For disorders like sleep apnea, there are several indicators you or your partner may notice if you suffer from poor quality sleep.
Sleep apnea is classified as one or numerous pauses in breath during sleep that can last from one to several seconds long.
Our Agoura Hills dentist recognizes these key symptoms as indicators of sleep apnea:
Snoring- Loud, incessant snoring is not only frustrating, but also a large clue when it comes to diagnosing sleep apnea.
Jolting out of sleep- Gasping for air or waking up due to a choking sensation are both common in patients with obtrusive sleep apnea.
Morning headaches- forgetfulness, headaches, and lack of energy after a full night’s rest are reasonable cause to see a sleep apnea dentist.
If you think you may have sleep apnea, it is crucial to consult our dentist about potential treatment options to avoid any side effects associated with this disorder. You will be met with several practical options to combat this disorder and live a high quality life.
Call our office for more information or to set up a consultation with our sleep apnea dentist.
Sleep specialists come from outlying areas of medicine. Some are otolaryngologists, some are pulmonologists. Others are even psychiatrists. This kind of extramural training can be essential to deciphering all the moving parts of a sleep apnea diagnosis. You may not have sleep apnea just because you snore. Sleep apnea symptoms can present as chronic fatigue or loss of cognition. You may need a sleep study to fully know.
If it comes to a sleep study, you can easily find one in your area that’s board-certified. A team of specialists working together, studying your sleep behavior in real time, can put you on the fastest road to recovery.
If you choose to forego the formality of a sleep study, or if the insurance you have won’t cover a specialist without a referral, our sleep apnea doctor can recommend several at-home recourses to try. These involve lifestyle shifts, like drinking less and quitting smoking. A healthier diet can reduce stress and help you lose weight. Try healthy fats and all the protein you can eat, as well as high-fiber foods like sprouted beans and ancient whole grains. Obesity is one of the most common links to sleep apnea, especially in older males.
To get started in a sleep apnea education, contact our sleep apnea doctor.
A sleep apnea diagnosis can only be delivered by a doctor certified in sleep medicine. Such a diagnosis may require several rounds of testing, starting with a sleep journal you keep yourself and continuing through a full night’s sleep under observation, at a designated site. Using information gathered by a full array of body sensors, our Thousand Oaks sleep apnea doctor can make a diagnosis and start talking treatment.
The most commonly-used weapon against sleep apnea is CPAP therapy. CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure, which is exerted using a regulator and mask. The mask keeps your airway open during sleep, while the regulator lowers blood pressure. Most cases see results with CPAP. However, the mask is an intrusion not all claustrophobes can handle. Alternative treatments include oral appliances, which look like ordinary mouth guards but either hold the tongue back or the jaw forward, depending on your physicality.
Another option if CPAP doesn’t work is the Winx system, which manipulates the soft palate and uvula to enlarge the upper airway.
Before prescribing CPAP for sleep apnea treatment, the doctor may suggest simple lifestyle fixes, like weight loss or quitting drinking or smoking. Personal habits inform your sleep schedule, and your body’s status while at rest, more than you know.
Sleep apnea patients suffer from a severe lack of sleep. The limited amount of air into the system leads to a deficiency of full REM cycle sleep, repeated waking during the night, and disruptive snoring. This lack of quality sleep can cause many symptoms and risks during the day, ranging from some minor issues such as moodiness, listlessness, and excessive hunger, to more serious issues such as heart complications and depression. So how do the experts at our sleep apnea center help provide relief for sleep apnea patients?
Some patients see success from simple lifestyle changes. Weight loss can create more space in the throat, allowing for more air to flow through. Changing the sleeping position, from lying on the back to on the side for example, may show some results, as well.
If more relief is needed, an oral appliance may be recommended. These mouth guard-like appliances are worn at night and shift the lower jaw, or both the lower jaw and tongue, forward. This repositions the muscles and tissues in the throat and allows for more space for air.
Many patients use CPAP machines, which stands for Continuous Positive Air Pressure. This provides constant air into the system via tubes connected to the mouth and nose. Visit our expert today to learn more about effective sleep apnea relief tactics.