If you suffer from sleep apnea, then you probably already know how annoying this chronic condition can be. What you may not realize, however, is it that sleep apnea, if left untreated, can also cause a number of serious health issues. Our Saint Louis sleep apnea dentists encourage patients of all ages to seek prompt treatment for sleep apnea issues, as prompt treatment can greatly reduce your risk of developing related long-term health issues. Keep reading to get more information about sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea occurs when relaxed oral tissues fall into a patient’s airway when he or she is asleep. This blockage makes it difficult for the patient to get enough oxygen during the night. Consequently, the patient’s blood oxygen levels drop, and the body is forced to briefly wake up in order to “restart” the breathing process. Many patients do not even remember waking in the night, but this disruption damages your sleep quality nonetheless.
The goal of sleep apnea treatment is to keep the patient’s airway open, so that he or she is able to maintain healthy blood oxygen levels. The traditional CPAP machine provides a targeted stream or air that is powerful enough to make it past the relaxed oral tissues that block normal breathing. The problem, for many patients, is that CPAP requires you to wear a breathing mask over your mouth throughout the night; many people find this uncomfortable and inconvenient, and that is why CPAP has such a low user-compliance rate.
Our Saint Louis sleep apnea dentists strive to treat sleep apnea with less intrusive, and more patient-friendly, solutions. For example, custom-crafted oral appliances move the patient’s lower jaw into a healthy position, so that the patient’s airway can stay open. This treatment does not require the patient to be hooked up to a large apparatus or to wear a face mask.
While sleep apnea is caused by a fairly limited and easy-to-pinpoint dysfunction, the health effects can be various and wide reaching: headaches, memory and concentration issues, obstructive snoring, and even increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
Our Saint Louis dentists are here to help you in any way that we can, so give us a call to get more information and defeat sleep apnea for good!