Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which breathing stops and restarts through the night. It is a serious condition that can even be life-threatening. If you or a Charlotte-area loved one has sleep apnea, we encourage you to get an examination and a proper diagnosis as soon as possible.
There are two forms of sleep apnea: obstructive, and central. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common form, and is marked by relaxation of the throat muscles. Central sleep apnea is when the brain doesn’t properly communicate with the muscles that control breathing.
A third form, complex sleep apnea, is when someone has both obstructive and central sleep apnea.
Here are some signs that you may have sleep apnea:
- Loud snoring
- Sudden awakenings
- Difficulty staying asleep
- Frequently being tired during the day
- Waking with a dry mouth
- Headaches, especially right after waking
- Difficulty concentrating
Sleep apnea is dangerous because recurring pauses in breathing during sleep deprives the brain of oxygen. When the brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, the heart slows down. When the person resumes breathing, the heart goes into panic mode to push the oxygen to the brain. Then the cycle repeats itself many times an hour each and every night. This stop-and-start action is dangerous for every organ in the body.
Advanced Dentistry of Charlotte offers treatment for sleep disorders. A common treatment is called CPAP, which stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. It can be a clunky device, and up to seventy percent of those who have one either don’t use it regularly, or stop using it within a year.
An alternative is Oral Appliance Therapy, or OAT. A custom-fit oral appliance allows patients to breath normally during the night. Before a patient gets OAT, a diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea must be made by an MD.
OAT devices are preferred by many patients, who find them effective and more comfortable. Advanced Dentistry of Charlotte treats sleep apnea, and can provide an OAT device to its patients. We encourage sleep apnea sufferers to see a medical doctor before your health is compromised.
Contact Advanced Dentistry of Charlotte – Dr. Christopher A. Bowman:
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