Snoring and Sleep Apnea Philadelphia
Philadelphia, Main Line, and Ardmore, Pennsylvania Cosmetic Dentistry
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea may sound a lot like snoring, but it can be significantly more concerning. When a person snores, sounds are made as air vibrates over soft tissues. Sleep apnea involves pauses in breathing. No air passing through. No oxygen reaching the brain – sometimes for several seconds at a time.
This condition is categorized as a sleep disorder with two types:
- Obstructive sleep apnea is related to mechanics. It is similar to snoring because it occurs then the structures around the throat block the airway completely.
- Central sleep apnea originates in the brain, where signals to breathe are inhibited during sleep.
Central sleep apnea and obstructive sleep apnea may occur simultaneously. Diagnostic evaluation enables us to determine if mechanical assistance would improve the symptoms of sleep apnea.
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
The symptoms of sleep apnea are similar among both types. This is because many are related to the continual disruption of sleep that occurs each night. Some of the warning signs that you or a loved one may be struggling to breathe at night include:
- Excessive daytime fatigue
- Difficulty concentrating
- A general sense of being “unwell”
- Morning headaches
Children may also experience sleep apnea. It may present itself in the form of bed wetting, ADHD, daytime sleepiness, heavy breathing while sleeping or very restless sleep.
What factors increase your risk of Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea is more common among men, as is snoring. However, there are several risk factors for this condition, including:
- Narrowed airway due to genetics, large tonsils, and adenoids, or other factors.
- Smoking significantly increases the risk for obstructive sleep apnea due to inflammation.
- Advanced age.
- Use of sedatives or consumption of alcohol before bed.
- Larger neck circumference.
Sleep Apnea Treatment
The standard medical treatment for obstructive sleep apnea, Continuous Positive Airway Pressure therapy, restores proper mechanics by forcing air into the airway. The consistent delivery of air with CPAP provides adequate pressure to prevent the closure of the airway. While effective, this method of care may not be tolerated well by all patients.
Home Sleep Apnea Test
Dr. Marshall offers the MediByte home apnea test to patients who exhibit clinical symptoms of this condition. This small, easy-to-use device monitors important data including respiratory effort, body position, snore, flow, heart rate, and blood oxygen saturation. Patients who use a CPAP device may also obtain a measurement of the pressure and flow of their machines.
What if I don’t Treat my Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea presents health risks if not treated. In addition to chronic fatigue, this condition increases one’s risk for secondary health concerns, such as diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
The most successful treatments for sleep apnea are CPAP and oral appliance therapy. Most patients who have found success with either of these treatments will likely need to stick with them for the duration. But technology and possible new treatments are always evolving, so there’s really no way to know.
Snoring and Sleep Apnea
Snoring can be a frustrating habit. It could also be something much more serious. Patients of Ardmore dentist Dr. Lindsey Marshall can obtain the testing and treatment they need to avoid the complications of the common sleep condition sleep apnea.
What Dr. Marshall’s Patients Have to Say
Dr. Marshall is so knowledgeable and kind. She made me feel so comfortable and confident about the work she will do. I’m trusting her with my smile and I know I’ll be very happy with the result.- Susanne R.
What is snoring?
Nearly 90 million people in our country snore, many of them on a regular basis. Snoring is the noise that one makes when he sleeps. The nocturnal habit may develop in a child, teen, or adult of any age.
The relaxation that occurs when we sleep is what causes snoring. The muscles around the throat loosen, and the tongue relaxes back toward the throat. The throat also “softens,” becoming more narrow when we sleep. These factors can create prime conditions for vibration in tissues as air passes through the airway.
MicrO2 Sleep & Snore Appliance for Sleep Apnea
MicrO2 treatment also corrects mechanical issues in the airway. It does so by creating the ideal position of the lower jaw. A forward-position in the jaw extends to the tongue, keeping that structure out of the airway. Tissues in the throat are also tightened when the device is in place, making it possible for air to flow continually while you sleep.
Is Snoring Always a Sign of Sleep Apnea?
Snoring occurs when there is resistance to airflow when a person is sleeping, particularly when lying on his or her back. The noise results from the tissues in the back of the throat vibrating against one another when the person inhales. This can happen intermittently, such as when a person has some congestion, has had more alcohol than usual, or just from sleeping on his or her back.
When a person has sleep apnea, the airflow is partially or completely blocked and the person stops breathing for a period of a few seconds or even minutes. While snorers can have sleep apnea, it is not a direct causal link.
Is Sleep Apnea Life-Threatening?
Many people discount the seriousness of sleep apnea, assuming it’s just a little snoring. But that’s a dangerous misconception. Your body needs consistent deep sleep to repair tissues and other body processes; it does this while we sleep. Sleep apnea can cause serious damage to your body, even shortening your life. Not treating sleep apnea can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, automobile accidents, diabetes, depression, and other health problems.
Dr. Marshall’s Parient Testimonial
Their care, consideration, and expertise exceeds my expectations by a comfortable margin. Dental work is far from my favorite, but with these folks I hve ext to no trepidation about future visits. Also, terrific lip balm! -Danlo L.
How Long Will I Continue to Need Treatment for my Sleep Apnea?
The answer here is “it depends.” If your sleep apnea is mainly the result of being overweight or obese, losing weight may cause it to resolve. Cigarette smoking decreases lung capacity and shrinks the blood vessels. Both of these can play a part in your sleep apnea. If you have allergies, continual congestion can lead to blockage by swelling the turbinates in the nose, so taking allergy medication may clear up your situation.
Other issues aren’t so easily corrected. A broken nose could have caused a deviated septum. Your structures in your nose and throat and the position of your jaw and tongue can all simply be your anatomy. Years of sleep apnea may have changed how well your airway can be maintained during sleep.
Is it Possible to Cure Sleep Apnea?
If your sleep apnea is due to issues such as allergies inflaming your sinuses and throat, allergy medication may “cure” your sleep apnea. Same thing if obesity has enlarged the tissues in your throat that sag and block your airway. Lose the weight and you can “cure” your sleep apnea.
But if your issues are more structurally anatomical, there may not be a way to “cure” your sleep apnea. Instead, you need to work with Dr. Marshall to treat it with the use of tools such as the MicrO2 sleep appliance or CPAP. These treatments will address your sleep apnea every night, but they won’t cure it.
Is Sleep Apnea Related to TMJ?
Sleep apnea and temporomandibular joint disorder can be related. Both conditions can be caused by improper jaw alignment. In TMJ, the misaligned jaw continually works to get into proper alignment, but it cannot do so. This leads to tension and pain across the jaw and face and it can even radiate down into the shoulders.
Improper jaw alignment can also be behind a person’s sleep apnea. Often a person’s lower jaw sits back further than normal. This decreases space in the back of the mouth and that impacts space in the airway. This can lead to blockage and sleep apnea. Mandibular advancing devices, such as the MicrO2 appliance, move the lower jaw into a more forward position to help prevent the throat muscles and other tissues from collapsing backward into the airway.