Interrupted sleep, gasping for air, and excessive snoring are all signs of sleep apnea. Drs. Chris Crawford and Rick Leishman can determine which type of sleep apnea treatment you may need during a full evaluation at their Orem, UT, dental practice. The right treatment can help you sleep more restfully and improve your overall health. Sleep apnea can leave you feeling lethargic and can lead to more serious health complications such as heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. After sleep apnea is diagnosed through a sleep study, our doctors at Crawford Leishman Dental can recommend treatment such as custom oral appliances.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common type of sleep apnea and affects nearly 20 million Americans of all ages. OSA is characterized by a blockage at the back of the throat that is caused by slack soft tissues. When these tissues collapse, they block the airways and halt your breathing. This can happen hundreds of times each night.
There are a number of causes and risk factors for sleep apnea. Two of the most common are age and weight. Sleep apnea is more common among men over the age of 40 and is especially common in those who are extremely overweight. Poor diet and smoking can also contribute to sleep apnea. Children with enlarged tonsils or adenoids can also suffer from sleep apnea.
Loud snoring is the most obvious warning sign. The snoring is typically so loud that it is disruptive to others in your household. You may also wake frequently throughout the night gasping for breath. In the morning, you may experience dry mouth or headaches. Many patients who suffer from sleep apnea eventually develop insomnia.
Prior to receiving treatment for sleep apnea, patients must participate in a sleep study to obtain an accurate diagnosis. Once you receive a diagnosis, we can recommend an appropriate treatment.
Typically, the first line of treatment for sleep apnea is an oral appliance. These appliances are custom-made so they fit snugly yet comfortably in your mouth as you sleep. Oral appliances are worn like a sports mouth guard. When treating sleep apnea, the appliance is designed to bring the lower jaw into a forward position. This helps keep the airway open while you sleep. Most patients see great success within the first week of using their custom oral appliance. If you have a more severe case of sleep apnea, we may recommend a CPAP machine instead.
If you do not seek treatment for sleep apnea, you put yourself at risk for some other dangerous health issues. Studies have linked sleep apnea to:
By seeking a treatment as simple as an oral appliance, you can significantly lower your risk for other serious health complications.
If you are not experiencing restful sleep, or if you find yourself feeling tired and irritable during the day, contact our dental office to schedule an appointment. We can help determine if sleep apnea is causing your symptoms. Depending on our findings, we can recommend the right treatment for your needs.