Do You Or Your Partner Suffer from Snoring?

Dr. Don Vespa of Pinellas Family Dental, in Largo, Florida, wants the public to know about the significant health risks of Obstructive Sleep Apnea. If you or your partner snores, this could be a source of conflict between the two of you. It’s not as if you can control snoring, but the lack of sleep is making you both irritable. Not only are you tired and cranky, your relationship is starting to suffer. Before you call a counselor, you may want to call your dentist. Loud, chronic snoring can be an indication of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). This common condition can have serious consequences for your long-term health, as well as your current wellbeing. Fortunately, your dentist may be able to treat OSA with a small, custom-made oral appliance.

Largo Dentist Sleep Apnea Video

Understanding Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is serious health concern in this country. According to the American Sleep Apnea Association, 22 million Americans suffer from the condition. 80% of those cases go undiagnosed. In part, this is because most patients do not realize that their snoring could indicate a larger concern. Therefore, they do not visit their doctors to receive a proper diagnosis.

Sleep apnea causes chronic disruptions to your breathing during the night. Your soft palate, throat, and/or tongue will start to droop while you are asleep. This will prevent the proper flow of air. In many cases, it will also cause severe snoring. Each time you stop breathing, you will wake up. Sometimes, you may suddenly jolt awake with a sharp gasp. More often, however, you will unconsciously move to a lighter stage of sleep. In either case, you will never get a complete night’s rest.

Snoring Is Not the Only Problem Associated with OSA

In addition to snoring, other symptoms of OSA include:

  • Chronic fatigue or daytime sleepiness
  • Insomnia
  • Frequent headaches
  • Waking up with a sore or dry throat
  • Depression, anxiety, or irritability
  • Forgetfulness

The condition can also have significant effects for your lifelong health. If you suffer from OSA, you have an increased risk for high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke. Scientists continue to research the connection between these various conditions. However, many believe that the disruption of oxygen to your brain puts stress on your heart, making it more difficult for the muscle to maintain a constant rhythm. Additionally, your body may respond to physical stress by producing more hormones, which will raise your blood pressure. OSA has also been linked to diabetes, obesity, and depression. Finally, if you suffer from sleep apnea, the chronic daytime fatigue can increase your risks of being involved in a serious car accident.

Your Snoring Could Affect Your Partner!

Of course, if you share a bed, your sleep apnea will not only affect you; it will also impact your partner. In fact, your sleep apnea could have almost the same results on your spouse that it has on you. A Mayo Clinic study found that, on average, snorers woke up 27 times an hour. Their sleep partners woke up almost as much – an average of 21 times an hour.

Another study, published in the summer 2003 Journal of Otolaryngology, found that individuals who slept with a snorer experienced measurable hearing loss. According to co-author Andre Tan, snoring can reach 90 to 120 decibels. He said that sleeping next to a snoring spouse is like “sleeping next to an industrial machine for 10 years or 15 years.” This may not be the most flattering way to address a loved one’s snoring problem, but it may provide further motivation to seek treatment for snoring and sleep apnea.

CPAP Machines vs. Oral Appliances

In the past CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machines were the standard of care for sleep apnea. A mask would fit over your mouth and nose, providing a steady stream of air that would keep your airways open. Although many sleep experts continue to use these devices, more health care professionals have become aware of the problems associated with CPAP machines. First, the devices are bulky and inconvenient. Many patients also find them to be so uncomfortable that they are unable to sleep while wearing the mask. Other problems include:

  • The device may pump air into a patient’s stomach.
  • The mask may come off.
  • The loud noise of the machine may keep the patient and his or her partner awake.

Because of these problems, more practitioners are using oral splints to treat sleep apnea and snoring. Your dentist can provide a simple, custom-made device. The splint will fit over your teeth to realign your jaw. As the splint repositions your mouth, it will also keep your soft tissues from falling back into your throat. Because the device is so small and will be custom-crafted for you, you should find it easy to adjust to. Best of all, oral splints are quite effective. According to the journal Sleep, published by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society, both CPAP machines and oral splints can bring about significant improvement for patients with mild to moderate OSA.

 

See our Obstructive Sleep Apnea Expert, Don Vespa, DDS

Dr. Don Vespa of Pinellas Family Dental is an expert in the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea who can help you have a longer, healthier life. Schedule your obstructive sleep apnea consultation with Dr. Don Vespa today. Adjustable oral splints that open the airway are a very effective alternative to CPAP machines for most patients. These splints are custom fit and adjusted by dentists. Dr. Vespa would like to improve your life through accurate diagnosis, comfortable appliance therapy, and monitoring of the effects of this therapy. Sleep Apnea treatment means that Dr. Don Vespa will collaborate with your physicians to maximize your overall systemic health through the regular flow of oxygen into your lungs all through the night.