According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NIH), Sleep Apnea is “a common disorder in which you have one or more pauses in breathing or shallow breaths while you sleep”. Why is this information important? Statistically, about 22million Americans suffer from Sleep Apnea with 80% estimated going undiagnosed. With such a high number of those affected, it only becomes more important for Dentists who regularly see patients bi-annually to screen for symptoms when they occur.
The most common sign of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is loud continuous snoring with chances of pauses or even choking/gasping while snoring occurs. Other symptoms include morning headaches, feelings of irritation/depression, waking up frequently to urinate, dry mouth or sore throat when you wake up. If you or someone you know show significant signs of these symptoms, please let our team know so we can help identify if you are affected by OSA.
For those who are diagnosed with Sleep Apnea, depending severity, there are a couple of solutions. In most minor severity, small lifestyle changes can be a significant factor. NIH recommends:
· Avoid Alcohol
· Loss of weight
· Sleeping on your side
· Keeping your nasal passages open
· Quit Smoking
In more moderate to severe cases, a more drastic approach might be necessary to improve patients with OSA. Breathing devices are commonly used today to aid during sleep. In a dental office like Vitalae, we offer patients a mouth piece or an oral appliance for treatment of apnea. Certain patients will need extra help with a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) device and mask to fit over the mouth and nose. These two devices are the most common forms of treatment. For some people, surgery may be the best or only choice to create the conditions to treat OSA.
Vitalae Dental Care has been helping patients concerned with OSA for over a year. As a dental office, we have provided initial screenings to look for signs and symptoms through questionnaires, oral examinations, and thorough “check-listing” of common symptoms. Some patients, who have gone through our program of Sleep Apnea and needed treatment, are currently using oral appliances and therapy. With extensive knowledge and educational material, Vitalae is able to assist anyone in need for a better sleep.