sleep apnea

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Oral Sleep Appliances – “I really wanted an effective alternative to a CPAP machine for my sleep apnea”

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Unfortunately, patients who have sleep apnea are often still told that CPAP is the only effective treatment for their obstructive sleep apnea.

This simply isn’t true. Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines are effective, but they’re also extremely hindering. Many patients find that the machine is just too uncomfortable to sleep with. These patients often forgo treatment because they don’t realize there are alternatives.

A patient of ours was desperately seeking something better. “I really wanted an effective alternative to a CPAP machine for my sleep apnea,” he said. “I just couldn’t take it anymore.”

Fortunately, patients who suffer from sleep apnea can find relief that’s just as effective with oral sleep appliances. Oral sleep appliances are similar to a retainer, except they help position your jaw so that your airway remains open while sleeping.

This effectively eliminates the need to breathe through your mouth, therefore curbing many symptoms of sleep apnea. It can help stop snoring and dry mouth; but more importantly, oral sleep appliances stop you from waking up so frequently during sleep. This enables patients to receive a good night’s rest and reduce their risk of complications from sleep apnea.

“I’ve never slept better!” Our patient was so pleased with his treatment. “I’ll never go back to CPAP”.

Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Self-Treat for Sleep Apnea

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Self-treating symptoms that you believe are caused by sleep apnea can be dangerous for your health. Sleep apnea is a serious condition in which breathing stops at numerous points while you’re asleep. This leads to increased stress on the body that can result in a host of other conditions—including shortened life expectancy and increased stress and fatigue. Getting diagnosed with a specific type of sleep apnea is paramount to receiving the right treatment. Here are the top reasons why you shouldn’t self-treat for sleep apnea.

An article by Dr. Thomas Bucker. Originally published by Your Dental Health Resource.


Sleep Apnea Symptoms You Didn’t Know About

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You’ve heard of sleep apnea—a chronic sleep condition in which patients stop breathing at numerous points during the night. Although this condition is more likely to affect those who are overweight or smoke, sleep apnea can affect anyone.

At Carpathian Dental, we’re familiar with many different symptoms of sleep apnea. Common symptoms include loud snoring, daytime fatigue, and insomnia. While many patients are familiar with these signs of sleep apnea, there are other, less common symptoms that people experience.

Since sleep apnea is a dangerous condition that can shorten your lifespan, it’s important to be aware of all of the symptoms of this disorder. The following are some sleep apnea symptoms you may not know about, as well as how to get help for sleep apnea with Dr. Bucker at Carpathian Dental.

Feeling Depressed

Sleep apnea has been linked to depression through numerous studies. The more a person wakes up in the night unable to breathe or the higher the frequency of snoring, the more the patient will report feeling hopeless or worthless.

Since a shared symptom of depression and sleep apnea is fatigue, physicians can help their patients by ruling out sleep apnea as a cause for their moodiness or depression. Sleep apnea can impact serotonin’s effect on brain, which may be what elevates the risk for depression in patients with this sleep disorder.

If you’ve been feeling depressed or anxious, talk to your doctor about your risk for sleep apnea. Dr. Bucker can also talk with you about your symptoms to determine if a sleep test is needed. Receiving treatment for your sleep apnea could help alleviate your depression symptoms!

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (Acid Reflux)

If you have obstructive sleep apnea, which is the most common type of sleep apnea, you could be at risk for developing acid reflux disease. This could happen for a couple different reasons.

First, obstructive sleep apnea causes the muscles in your airway to relax too much, which means your airway closes and you’ll be unable to breathe while sleeping. The pressure in your airway then changes, which could happen because you’re trying to breathe while the airway is collapsed. This could trigger acid reflux.

Secondly, acid reflux may back up into your esophagus and cause you to choke and wake up, which will lead to irregular sleep patterns and potentially sleep apnea. Although a causal relationship is still being established, acid reflux could be a sign that you have sleep apnea, and vice versa.

Fortunately, getting treatment for either acid reflux or sleep apnea seems to help the other condition, even if the second condition is not being treated. Sleep apnea and acid reflux also have overlapping risk factors, including being overweight and smoking.

Since acid reflux can be hugely damaging to your smile, it’s worth getting this checked out by Dr. Bucker to see if one could be causing your symptoms of the other!

Loss of Memory

One of the tasks your brain accomplishes while you’re asleep is categorizing information and storing new memories. When you experience frequently disrupted sleep, your memory may be affected though decreased oxygen.

When you can’t breathe properly during sleep, oxygen levels in your blood plummet. This means your brain isn’t getting the nourishment it needs to function properly. In fact, research shows that people who have sleep apnea were found to have cognitive impairment ten years sooner than people without the sleep disorder.

Your brain also isn’t able to detoxify itself without restful, deep sleep. This means toxins can accumulate in your brain and may negatively impact your cognitive health, including memory loss.

The Best Treatment Options

Although sleep apnea needs to be diagnosed by a sleep specialist, you can schedule an appointment with us at Carpathian Dental to talk with Dr. Bucker about your symptoms. Dr. Bucker can tell if you’re experiencing dry mouth or acid reflux, which both could be symptoms of sleep apnea.

Dr. Bucker can also refer you to a qualified sleep specialist in the area. Once you’ve done a sleep study with the specialist, you can find out if sleep apnea is affecting you. Fortunately, the treatment for sleep apnea is usually simple and can be done by your dentist. This is because for obstructive sleep apnea, an oral sleep appliance may be all that’s needed to help you breathe normally and sleep well again.

An oral sleep appliance is a simple device that fits easily into your mouth and positions your jaw to help keep your airway open. This treatment for sleep apnea can help alleviate your symptoms so you can enjoy a good night’s sleep.

Schedule a Consultation

We invite you to schedule a consultation with us if you’re experiencing any of the common or uncommon symptoms of sleep apnea. Scheduling a simple exam gives you an opportunity to talk about what you’re experiencing and what you can do to counteract your symptoms.

Sleep apnea affects more than your slumber—from dental problems to cognitive disorders to increased risk for chronic disease, it’s worth getting a professional’s opinion on your symptoms!

Get Professional Help for Your Sleep Apnea

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If you experience symptoms such as snoring, headaches, or daytime fatigue, you could be experiencing symptoms of sleep apnea and not be aware of it.

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which you stop breathing at numerous points during your sleep. The most common type of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), in which the airway becomes obstructed during sleep and prevents adequate airflow.

“Just because a patient snores, it may be a symptom of sleep apnea that has serious health risks,” says Dr. Thomas Bucker at Carpathian Dental. “Patients should not be self-treating for this condition because of the severe health risks associated with sleep apnea.”

Here’s why getting professional help for your sleep apnea is your best option for treatment.

Understand Your Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea can lead to chronic health problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and even accidents from your fatigue. Knowing whether or not you have sleep apnea should be the first step in your treatment.

You’ll need to know what type of sleep apnea you have and how severe it is before seeking treatment. There are two different types of sleep apnea and a third type in which these two are present in combination. If you don’t know what’s causing your sleep apnea, seeking treatment is often futile.

“Oral appliance therapy is meant for treatment of mild to moderate sleep apnea. This can only be determined by a sleep test (polysomnagram) from a sleep physician,” Dr. Bucker says. “Treatment using oral appliance therapy requires diagnosis by a sleep physician and treatment by a sleep dentist.  It requires both treating doctors.”

By first getting an accurate diagnosis for your sleep apnea, you can secure a form of treatment that works for you.

Don’t Waste Time or Money on Ineffective Treatments

If you have any symptoms of sleep apnea, you can talk with Dr. Bucker about what you’re experiencing. He can refer you to a sleep specialist for a proper diagnosis before working closely with you and your sleep doctor to create an effective treatment plan.

When you attempt to self-diagnose or treat sleep apnea, Dr. Bucker explains that you won’t be able to secure treatment under your insurance plan: “Insurance companies will not pay unless there is a sleep test and prescription from a sleep physician,” he says.

Any over-the-counter sleep apnea products you see advertise quick remedies for your condition. These treatments rarely work and can even be dangerous for the patient. Without a correct diagnosis, your sleep apnea severity and type cannot be determined.

You can get treatment that works by visiting Carpathian Dental to discuss your symptoms and get a referral. If sleep apnea is present, Dr. Bucker can talk more with you about an oral sleep appliance and how it can help you maintain proper breathing during sleep.

Maintaining Oral Health Is Essential

Before you seek treatment of sleep apnea, consider your oral health. “A dentist needs to evaluate a patient’s oral health before placing an appliance,” says Dr. Bucker. This means addressing any problems before an oral appliance can be considered.

For instance, if you have advanced gum disease, an oral appliance could be more harmful than helpful. “There is a risk of actually pulling out a tooth with the appliance if a patient has severe periodontal disease,” Dr. Bucker cautions.

Dr. Bucker also explains that patients need to seek treatment for other conditions such as fractured teeth or even temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders before considering an oral sleep appliance. “Broken teeth need to be restored prior to fabrication of an appliance. If a patient has any TMJ symptoms, the appliance may exacerbate their problems.”

By visiting Carpathian Dental prior to your sleep apnea diagnosis or treatment plan, you can begin to address these problems so you’ll be ready to successfully treat your sleep apnea when the time comes.

Managing Your Care Long-Term

Your life isn’t over just because you have sleep apnea. You can help ease your symptoms with the help of a sleep specialist and Dr. Bucker. Your life can and will begin to improve once you receive the proper treatment for your specific type of sleep apnea.

Dr. Bucker and your sleep doctor can help provide you with treatment that really works. Continuing to manage your care is essential, as your sleep apnea can change over time.  By visiting Carpathian Dental regularly, we can make any necessary adjustments to your oral sleep appliance.

Getting the right care for your sleep apnea begins with the right diagnosis. Don’t wait to seek help for your sleep apnea—this condition can cause life-threatening problems. Schedule an appointment with us today to talk about your symptoms and get professional help for your sleep apnea!

Signs Your Child Should Be Evaluated for Sleep-Disordered Breathing (SDB)

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Sleep-Disordered breathing (SDB) is a term that refers to several different sleep disorders, all of which are characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is one of the most common SDB conditions. These disorders often have serious side effects and should be diagnosed by a physician so proper treatment can be put in place. What are the signs your child should be evaluated for SDB?

An article by Dr. Thomas Bucker. Originally published by Your Dental Health Resource.


Waking Up Exhausted? Sleep Apnea Could Be The Cause

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Sleep apnea happens when you stop breathing for 10 seconds or more during the night while you sleep. These pauses can happen many times and may last for a minute or longer. This condition is generally considered serious and has different types, including obstructive, central, and complex sleep apnea syndrome. Dentists are often the first professionals to notice the symptoms of your sleep apnea, and they play a vital part in helping to treat this condition! Learn more about sleep apnea in this article written by Dr. Bucker, originally published by Your Dental Health Resource.