In this post, our dentists at Hanin Dental Surrey discuss how dentists can help you get diagnosed with sleep apnea and find answers to your questions.
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a sleep-related breathing disorder that causes shallow breathing and pauses in breathing during sleep. These pauses in breathing can happen as often as 30 times (or more) every night, and can last anywhere from several seconds to a few minutes. Normal breathing starts again after each pause, usually with a choking sound or a loud snort.
As you might imagine, these breathing issues can significantly disrupt your sleep and may cause a range of problems that can negatively impact your overall health, such as increased risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke and heart attack. It may increase the likelihood that you'll suffer from irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) and the risk you'll be in a driving or workplace-related accident.
Why does sleep apnea often go undiagnosed?
Despite the symptoms described above and the fact that sleep apnea is a serious medical condition, it often goes undiagnosed as your doctor will not be able detect it with a blood test, or pick up on it at your regular checkup. If you've had family members or bed partners mention that you sometimes stop breathing while you sleep or that you snore loudly, we recommend booking a consultation with our team. We often act as the first line of defense when it comes to recognizing sleep apnea symptoms in our patients, and can then help you determine next steps based on our assessment.
How can my dentist help treat my sleep apnea?
If you've been diagnosed with sleep apnea, your dentist at Hanin Dental Group can offer several options for sleep apnea treatment depending on your needs and whether you have mild sleep apnea or a more severe form of the disorder.
Mild Sleep Apnea
Moderate or mild sleep apnea can often be treated with simple, non-invasive options such as oral appliances or weight loss management (since being overweight is sometimes a primary cause of sleep apnea).
Our dental team can help you navigate the weight loss process, potentially in addition to other treatment methods to help relieve your sleep apnea symptoms.
Severe sleep Apnea
For patients who suffer from severe sleep apnea, we offer CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) — the most popular treatment for obstructive sleep apnea that uses air pressure to keep the airway open while you sleep. Alternative treatment options include Inspire therapy for patients who either can't use or are unable to achieve consistent benefits with CPAP treatment.
Inspire monitors breathing while you sleep and delivers mild stimulation to the nerve controlling the tongue's movement and the movement of other muscles in the airway to prevent the airway from closing while you sleep.