Obstructive sleep apnea is a prevalent condition. It is estimated to affect nearly 1 billion adults between the ages of 30-69. However, people of all ages, including children suffer from this condition, wherein breathing is interrupted while sleeping. Also known as sleep-disordered breathing, obstructive sleep apnea cannot be cured. But like many medical conditions, it can be successfully managed, reducing risks to your overall health. Read on to learn more about treatments for obstructive sleep apnea.

Fast Facts About Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea affects children and adults alike. However, males and those assigned male at birth are approximately twice as likely to suffer from obstructive sleep apnea than females. Roughly one in four adults experience this type of sleep-disordered breathing, and up to 1 in 10 children may also experience disruptions to breathing while sleeping.

Obstructive sleep apnea is caused by relaxing soft tissues in the throat while sleeping. This causes a partial or complete blockage of the windpipe (airway). This restriction or blockage can cause dangerous drops in blood oxygen levels, which can lead to serious health problems, including heart damage, failure, arrhythmias, or even sudden cardiac death. 

Signs You May Have Sleep-Disordered Breathing

Unfortunately, many people do not know that they suffer from sleep apnea unless a partner or family member notifies them of symptoms such as:

  • Snoring
  • Gasping for air 
  • Long pauses between breaths when sleeping

However, you may suspect obstructive sleep apnea if you notice some of the following symptoms

  • Sleepiness, even after a full night’s rest
  • Waking up repeatedly in the night
  • Night sweats
  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches
  • Sexual dysfunction

How is Sleep Apnea Diagnosed?

Dentists who specialize in sleep medicine will use a combination of tests to determine if you may have obstructive sleep apnea. A visual examination of your teeth and the soft tissues of the throat will be performed. A small jaw weakened teeth, and redness in the throat are all signs you may have sleep apnea. They will often also take digital scans and images of the throat to view the size of tissues in the throat.

Qualified sleep dentists may also provide a home sleep study test, which can be used to help diagnose obstructive sleep apnea. The test is non-invasive and does not require bulky, uncomfortable devices attached to your body while you sleep.

Your sleep dentist will then evaluate the results of the sleep study, along with all visual inspections and evaluations to determine if you require treatment for obstructive sleep apnea.

Chang Dental Group provides the highest quality dental care in a warm and gentle environment to Natick, MA, and its surrounding areas. Their Services include Sleep Apnea Treatment, Family Dentistry, Restorative Dentistry, and more.