Although about 25 million Americans have sleep apnea, 80% of moderate and severe cases are undiagnosed and untreated. If you think you have the disorder, schedule an appointment with your physician for an exam and accurate diagnosis. At Cheek Dental in East Cobb, our dentists will partner with your physician to help you get proper treatment and relief from the symptoms of sleep apnea.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Apnea is a Greek word that means “without breath.” The disorder briefly and repeatedly interrupts your breathing while you sleep. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common form of the disorder.
Obstructive sleep apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when your tongue and soft palate relax, fall toward the back of your throat, and narrow or close your airway. An obstructed airway can cause you to stop breathing for at least ten seconds and up to several minutes. The obstruction has other side effects, including:
- Low blood-oxygen levels
- Failure to get a good night’s rest
Signs, Symptoms, and Treatment
Sleep apnea can result in a variety of signs and symptoms. If you or a loved one is experiencing some of the signs or symptoms listed below, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have sleep apnea. But don’t delay getting an examination from your physician. Early detection can be lifesaving.
Signs and Symptoms
- Choking or gasping for air while you’re asleep
- Concentration and memory problems
- Difficulty sleeping
- Dry or sore throat
- Excessive weight gain
- Extreme daytime sleepiness, which can include falling asleep while driving, working, or engaging in other activities
- Loud snoring
- Mood changes, including irritability or depression
- More accident prone, or clumsy, than usual
Resulting medical conditions
Oxygen deprivation and lack of proper rest caused by sleep apnea can lead to a variety of medical conditions, including:
- Cardiovascular disorders
- High blood pressure
- Increased risk of insulin resistance
If you receive an examination and sleep study from your physician and are diagnosed with sleep apnea, your treatment plan might include an oral appliance. Dr. Cheek or Dr. Chandler will use the prescription from your doctor to make a customized oral appliance that will relieve the symptoms of sleep apnea.
You’ll wear the appliance while you sleep to position your jaw forward and prevent your tongue and soft palate from falling back and obstructing your airway. Many patients get relief with the Myerson Elastic Mandibular Advancement (EMA)® or Silent Nite® appliance. One of our dentists will explain your options and the results you can expect.
How will the appliance help you?
- Customization – Dr. Cheek or Dr. Chandler will take impressions of your mouth to make a customized appliance that fits comfortably.
- Convenience – You will be able to adjust the appliance for comfort without the need for an office visit.
- Relief – The appliance will keep your airway open so you can breathe and sleep without snoring, gasping for air, or choking.
Is It Really Sleep Apnea?
If you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms that seem to be related to sleep apnea, schedule an appointment with your physician for an exam, sleep study, and accurate diagnosis. If your physician prescribes an oral appliance, Dr. Cheek or Dr. Chandler will be happy to fill the prescription and make a customized, comfortable appliance that will keep your airway open and help you get a good night’s rest.
Read Dr. Cheek’s personal Sleep Apnea Story.
Call us to schedule an appointment, or complete our Request an Appointment form.