If you are a chronic snorer, you may have sleep apnea, a condition during which you stop breathing several times during normal sleep cycles. However, while snoring is perhaps the most commonly noted symptom of sleep apnea, it is not the only one that may indicate the necessity for further testing.
Symptoms of sleep apnea that should prompt a call to our New York dental office include:
- Frequently waking with a sore throat or dry mouth
- Morning headaches
- Excessive daytime fatigue
- Memory and concentration problems
These issues may indicate the need to test for sleep apnea and should not be ignored. Left untreated and sleep apnea can increase the risk of many fatal medical conditions including heart disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and mood disorders.
How is Sleep Apnea Diagnosed?
Our Manhattan sleep apnea dentists can make a preliminary diagnosis based on your symptoms. However, to be diagnosed with sleep apnea, you will need to visit a physician or sleep specialist (somnologist).
Testing for sleep apnea may be done at home with equipment provided by your doctor. This equipment will measure breathing patterns and airflow levels to determine if breath cessation is occurring. They may also monitor heart rate and blood oxygen levels to establish the impact sleep apnea is having on your general health. In some cases, a sleep test will need to be performed in an accredited medical facility to properly diagnose this condition.
OSA vs. CSA
Central Sleep Apnea (CSA) occurs when the brain and the breathing muscles fail to communicate properly. This type of sleep apnea may be related to an existing medical condition and is best treated by Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP), a type of machine that provides a steady flow of oxygen via tube or mask while you sleep.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) occurs when soft tissue in the mouth and throat collapse during sleep, preventing air from entering the body. While OSA may be prompted by an existing condition or even related to genetics, some of the most common causes of this type of sleep apnea are:
- Alcohol use
- Narcotic and sedative use
- General inactivity
With OSA, the mechanisms of breathing are in proper working order, but lifestyle choices may be a bit out of control. Treating the condition will likely require a commitment to leading a healthy lifestyle.
How We Treat Sleep Apnea
Patients with CSA will benefit most from CPAP. Because CSA is a neurological issue, simply keeping airways open will be insufficient at ensuring continuous breathing. Central Sleep Apnea is best treated by a somnologist.
Patients with OSA may not need an expensive machine to treat the disorder. In fact, a simple oral appliance that can keep the tongue and palate in place while gently angling the jaw for optimal airflow may be all it takes to treat both chronic snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnea. The best way to learn if this option is suitable for your needs is through a one-on-one consultation at our Manhattan office.
If you have been diagnosed with OSA, we may recommend lifestyle changes in addition to an orthotic device to address the problem at its root. Choosing healthy foods, getting adequate exercise, not smoking or drinking, and giving up narcotics and sedatives may be necessary to treat as opposed to slightly mitigate the problem.
During your time in our care, we will work directly with you to provide you with suggestions that are relevant to your life and to help ensure your condition is treated to the fullest extent possible.
If you have been diagnosed with OSA in Manhattan or surrounding areas of New York City, please call NYC Smile Design at 212-452-3344 to schedule a treatment consultation today.