Get a Better Night's Sleep

If you wake up throughout the night and feel groggy during the day, you may suffer from sleep apnea. Our team at Lakewood Dental can diagnose and treat this potentially life-threatening disease and help you get your life back.

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a potentially life-threatening sleep disorder characterized by repeated pauses in breathing during sleep. Breathing pauses can last from several seconds to minutes and happen as often as 30 times or more per hour.

Ongoing disrupted breathing affects the balance between the carbon dioxide and oxygen levels in your bloodstream since not enough carbon dioxide exists and not enough oxygen enters the body. The brain senses this imbalance and sends a message to the body, telling it to wake up to restart breathing.

People with sleep apnea will partially awake as they struggle to breathe, often accompanied by loud snoring or choking sensations. Because people with sleep apnea don’t always wake up entirely during the episodes, they are often unaware they have a sleeping disorder, which can remain undiagnosed for years.

Types of Sleep Apnea

There are two main types of sleep apnea: central sleep apnea, which occurs when the brain fails to send necessary signals to the breathing muscles, and obstructive sleep apnea, which occurs when air cannot flow through the nose or mouth even though the body is still trying to breathe.

Obstructive sleep apnea is far more prevalent and easily treatable by your Lakewood Dental team. This type of sleep apnea occurs when the soft tissue lying at the back of your throat collapses into the airway. The tongue then falls towards the back of the throat, which tightens the blockage and prevents oxygen from entering the lungs.

The problem worsens when the chest region, diaphragm, and abdomen fight for air. The efforts to get adequate oxygen only cause a further tightening of the blockage, eventually arousing you from deep sleep to tense the tongue to remove the soft tissue from the airway.

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Signs & Symptoms

Common signs of obstructive sleep apnea can include:

  • Severe early morning headaches
  • Sleepiness in the daytime
  • Insomnia

Fortunately, Dr. Thompson, Dr. Amann, and the Lakewood Dental team have the necessary technology and expertise to treat sleep apnea in several different ways.

Sleep Apnea Treatment

The first step in treating sleep apnea is scheduling an appointment with Dr. Thompson and Dr. Amann. She’ll conduct tests to assess, diagnose, and treat your unique case.

You’ll get several treatment options to meet your needs and help you get the most out of your experience. Dr. Thompson and Dr. Amann may recommend quitting some habits that aggravate sleep apnea, such as smoking, alcohol consumption, and tranquilizer use.

Sleeping masks are the traditional way to keep your airway open as you sleep, but you have more, less-intrusive options at our Batesville office.

Dental devices that gently tease the lower jaw forward effectively prevent the tongue from blocking the central air passage. These dental devices are gentle, easy to wear, and often help avoid unwanted surgeries.

A more permanent solution is surgery that sections the lower jaw and helps pull the bone holding the tongue forward slightly. This surgery has an impressive success rate, and Dr. Thompson and Dr. Amann will work with an oral surgeon to make your experience as easy and comfortable as possible.

Reasons for Treating Sleep Apnea

You must seek medical attention if you suspect you have sleep apnea. A sufferer can completely stop breathing numerous times per hour, and this can quickly turn into a deadly situation.

Because sleep apnea causes carbon dioxide levels to skyrocket in the blood and oxygen levels to decrease, the heart has to pump harder and faster to compensate for the lack of oxygen.

Sleep apnea patients can technically “die” many times each night, and the disease has been linked to a series of severe heart-related conditions.

Your dentist should investigate it at the earliest opportunity.