December 29, 2018
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a serious disorder wherein the soft tissues in the throat obstruct the airway during periods of rest. This leads to brief periods where a person is not breathing, disrupting their sleep cycle and make it virtually impossible for them to get the high-quality rest they need to function at their best. Do you suspect that you may be suffering from OSA? Here is how you can find out.
Be Aware of Symptoms and Risk Factors
Whether you are young or elderly, male or female, overweight or fit and trim, it is possible for you to develop obstructive sleep apnea. With that being said, however, there are certain groups who are at a higher risk of suffering from this condition. These include: older men, obese individuals, people with a family history of OSA or snoring, and individuals with a large neck circumference.
Some common symptoms of OSA include:
- Loud snoring
- Waking up gasping for air
- Waking up with a sore throat
- Frequent nighttime urination
- Feeling exhausted during the day
- Mood swings
- Trouble concentrating
- Slowed reaction times
- Decreased sex drive or sexual dysfunction
Seek a Diagnosis
If you have reason to believe that you have obstructive sleep apnea, you should seek advice and treatment from a dentist who has advanced training in diagnosing and treating this condition. They may use one of the following methods to confirm that you are suffering from OSA:
- Pharyngometry and Rhinometry. These diagnostic tools use sound waves to measure how you breathe through your mouth and nose. They can pinpoint the problems within the airway that are causing the sleep apnea.
- A sleep study. Dentists often work with other doctors in the area who can arrange for you to undergo a sleep study. Either in a lab or in the comfort of your own home, you will be hooked up to a machine that analyzes your sleep patterns and identifies disruptions that point to OSA.
The best treatment for OSA depends largely on the severity of a patient’s condition and their personal preferences. The most common methods for addressing sleep apnea are:
- A CPAP machine. This device gently forces air into a patient’s airway at night, preventing soft tissues in the mouth from collapsing and obstructing airflow.
- A custom oral appliance. A small dental sleep device may be able to gently reposition your jaw at night, allowing for freer airflow while you sleep.
- Combined therapy. This employs both a dental sleep device and a CPAP machine.
After consulting with you and learning more about your condition, your dentist can recommend the treatment option that is most appropriate for your circumstances. Hopefully, it will not be long before you find relief from OSA and can begin enjoying a healthier, more energized life.
About the Author
Dr. William Langston has over 40 years of experience in dentistry. His advanced training and intimate understanding of the orofacial structures equip him to provide sleep apnea treatment. If you would like to learn how he may be able to help you achieve a better night’s rest, contact our office at 972-270-6533.
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