Sleep Apnea Assessment
Are you feeling tired today? There are a myriad of reasons why someone might have trouble sleeping. One of these, sleep apnea, is a common but serious sleeping disorder that shouldn't be ignored. Luckily, we can help rule out some critical concerns with a sleep apnea assessment right in our office at Flower City Dental. Then we can refer you to a sleep center to finish your treatment and find relief.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea or OSA is a disorder that, quite literally, causes a person to stop breathing when they're asleep. Airways get blocked resulting in the lungs not getting enough oxygen. This leads to snoring and choking sounds as a person struggles to breathe, wakes up throughout the night, and is unrested the next morning. Even worse, prolonged obstructive sleep apnea can lead to greater struggles such as elevated stress, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, strokes, and obesity, among others.
While only your physician can properly diagnose obstructive sleep apnea, our office can screen for symptoms of those at risk for the disorder. Communication between dentist and patient is key, as we will most likely begin by asking you a series of questions relating to your specific battles with sleep apnea. We will inquire about symptoms such as dry mouth, headaches, and general fatigue. Then we will look for physical signs as we examine the upper portions of your body including your neck, tongue, and tonsils, assessing them for abnormal sizes. Armed with this information and a report on your medical history, we will be well equipped to best determine your specific situation.
A sleep apnea assessment typically involves an overnight stay at a sleep disorder center and includes monitoring of your breathing and other bodily functions. Tests range from nocturnal polysomnography where you'll be hooked up to machines to simplified versions that you can do at home.
Sleep Apnea Treatment
Options for treatment of obstructive sleep apnea includes personalized oral appliances that patients wear to help them sleep throughout the night as well as continued assessment and monitoring to ensure that these devices are helping in the long run. Positive airway pressure or PAP therapy includes a variety of devices including CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure), BiPAP (bilevel positive airway pressure), and automatic positive airway pressure or APAP. These machines work by keeping airways open and preventing them from collapsing during sleep, allowing patients to breathe easily.
Lighter cases of sleep apnea call for less direct action. Our dentist will most likely recommend a lifestyle change such as weight loss or medicine for your allergies instead. If you smoke they'll ask you to quit. On the other hand, in extreme cases, surgery might be suggested if all other options have been exhausted.
If our dentist determines that there is enough to investigate further, we will refer you to a primary care physician or a sleep specialist that will have you sleeping soundly throughout the night. They'll work together to provide long-term care for your obstructive sleep apnea. You (and your partner) will thank us, so call us at 585-248-2273 today!