Obstructive sleep apnea is one of the most common sleep disorders in the United States. The condition causes your upper airway to collapse while sleeping. The resulting drops in blood oxygen levels can increase blood pressure and strain the cardiovascular system. This raises your risk of heart disease. Whether hypertension causes or results from sleep apnea is inconclusive, but the two are intertwined. CPAP machines are a common treatment for obstructive sleep apnea, but did you know your dentist may offer other options?
Dr. Timothy Mickiewicz works alongside primary care physicians and specialists to treat obstructive sleep apnea and lower your risk of heart disease through the use of dental appliances. If you are interested in this safe and effective treatment option, contact our Sacramento dental office today at 916-469-9178.
How Are Sleep Apnea and Heart Disease Related?
Individuals who suffer from sleep apnea stop breathing hundreds of times throughout their sleep. This cessation of breathing prevents the heart from functioning properly and puts strain on the heart. Here is what typically happens:
- Lack of oxygen causes the heart rate to drop.
- The brain is alerted, and the person jolts awake.
- The heart rate accelerates, and blood pressure rises.
Over time, the heart walls thicken, and the structure of the heart becomes thicker and less efficient at pumping blood. This physiological change dramatically raises a person’s risk of developing complications related to heart disease.
Who Is at Risk for Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Although anyone can develop obstructive sleep apnea symptoms, middle-aged men are particularly at risk for developing the sleep disorder. Other risk factors include:
- Chronic nasal congestion
Dealing with these risk factors can help lower your sleep apnea symptoms.
What Are Common Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?
Loud snoring is an obvious sign of sleep apnea. If you have a partner or roommate, they probably have voiced their complaints about the noise. Most people write off snoring as a natural part of sleep, but in many cases, it’s the result of a serious health issue.
You should consult a medical professional if you experience any of the following problems:
- Daytime sleepiness
- Intermittent pauses in breathing during sleep
- Waking up gasping or choking
- Morning headaches
- Difficulty concentrating
- Depression or irritability
- High blood pressure
- Nighttime sweating
- Decreased libido
When talking with Dr. Mick, be sure to mention any other symptoms you have experienced.
Dental Appliances and Sleep Apnea
Dentists are trained to understand the symptoms of sleep apnea, but only a medical doctor can make an official diagnosis.
CPAP machines are 100 percent effective when worn at night. However, for various reasons, less than half of sleep apnea patients use their CPAP machines on a regular basis. For these people, and for those who are CPAP intolerant, dental appliances can help. Dr. Mick’s patients are far more compliant. In fact, 90 percent of Dr. Mick’s patients wear their appliances and report that their snoring has stopped within the first two nights.
Once a specialist diagnoses you with obstructive sleep apnea, Dr. Mick will discuss your situation with your physician and evaluate your oral structure to offer the appropriate treatment. He offers three types of dental appliances for sleep apnea that include:
- Mandibular repositioning appliances
- Tongue retaining appliances
- Combination oral appliance and CPAP
Each of these addresses your personal needs by preventing your airway from collapsing at night. The devices reposition your jaw; stabilize the mandible, tongue, and hyoid bone; and increase the baseline muscle activity.
Contact Your Sacramento Dentist Today
Obstructive sleep apnea is a serious health issue that must be addressed. By doing so, you can add years of healthy and happy years to your life. To learn more about Dr. Mick’s treatment options, contact our office today at 916-469-9178.