Sleep apnea is a treatable disorder in which a person stops breathing for short periods while resting. This can occur up to several hundred times a night, often without the patient even realizing what’s going on. Some of the symptoms are daytime sleepiness (such as falling asleep at work, while driving, or when talking), irritability, and fatigue. If you have a sleeping partner, they may notice heavy snoring, gasping for air, or long pauses in your breathing.
If you have some of these symptoms, see your physician for a full diagnosis. You may need to undergo a sleep study, during which your episodes of apnea can be measured. If untreated, someone with sleep apnea will often go through life in a fog of fatigue and have a higher risk of heart disease, heart attack and stroke. Also, the sufferer is more likely to have a traffic, workplace, or home accident; they may even risk falling asleep while at the wheel.
Treatment ranges from changes in sleep habits to throat surgery. The most common treatment is continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP. This is a device that keeps your airway open with regulated air pressure. Also, many people can find relief by wearing a dental device at night that moves your lower jaw slightly forward, thus having the effect of opening up the back of the throat to make breathing easier.
Dr. Peter Silver was actually diagnosed with sleep apnea about twelve years ago, and he decided to learn as much as he could about this dangerous disorder. He used a CPAP for a while, tried different dental devices, and eventually lost enough weight that the apnea was no longer significant. He has been helping patients fight sleep apnea ever since. If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea or need advice on getting diagnosed, contact our team at NY Center for Minimally Invasive Dentistry to find out how we can help you!