The dentists at Fort Bend Dental in Missouri City, TX, provide simple and effective sleep apnea treatment with customized oral appliances. This sleep disorder causes patients to snore and have difficulty sleeping soundly, which can affect nearly every area of their life. Patients who consistently wear their oral appliance almost immediately enjoy improved sleep, better moods, and increased energy levels.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sufferers of sleep apnea experience interruptions in breathing that last anywhere from a few seconds to a several minutes, generally followed by a loud gasp for air. These pauses in breathing can occur multiple times a night, causing you to feel chronically tired. This common sleep condition affects about 25 million people in the U.S. Individuals can suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), central sleep apnea (CSA), or a combination of the two.
OSA is the most common type of the disorder, and can often be managed with a customized mouth guard. During OSA, soft tissue sags and partially or fully blocks your airway and prevents you from breathing normally. If left untreated, it can lead to serious health conditions, such as increased risk of developing heart disease and stroke.
Signs and Symptoms
Patients with sleep apnea are generally unaware that they have it until a spouse or significant other notices their loved one snoring and gasping for air after cessations of breathing. Symptoms are easily mistaken for other problems and include:
- Loud snoring
- Restless sleep
- Waking with a headache, dry mouth, or sore throat
- Extreme daytime sleepiness
- Trouble focusing on routine tasks
- Wakeup multiple times during the night to urinate
- Increased anxiety or depression
- Moodiness and irritability
- Noticeable weight gain or weight loss
Who is at Risk for OSA?
Anyone can be diagnosed with OSA, but you are at a higher risk of developing it if you are overweight, smoke, or have a family member with OSA. Other risk factors can include:
- Your age (typically diagnosed in adults between 50 to 60 years old)
- If you are male
- Chronic nasal congestion due to a deviated septum
- Excessive soft tissue in your throat (large tonsils or tongue)
- A wide or short neck
- Heavy use of alcohol or sedatives
Treating Your Sleep Apnea
The doctors at Fort Bend Dental are fully equipped to treat mild to moderate cases of OSA, but only a sleep specialist can provide an actual sleep apnea diagnosis. We can conduct a screening, during which we will discuss your sleep patterns and other factors. Then, we can recommend that you visit a specialist to undergo a sleep study.
If you receive a positive diagnosis, your dentist can fit you with a customized mouth guard to be worn each night. This device is designed to bring your lower jaw slightly forward and keep your airway open. This approach is less invasive and results in greater patient compliance than a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine.
Patients who consistently wear their oral appliance almost immediately enjoy improved sleep, better moods, and increased energy levels.
Although OSA can have a significant, lasting impact on your sleep and physical health, it can also negatively affect your oral health. Patients with OSA are more prone to experience teeth grinding and jaw clenching (bruxism), which can lead to temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. In cases where there is extensive dental damage, our doctors can repair your smile with dental fillings, inlays or onlays, or dental crowns to help protect your teeth from further harm.
Improve Your Sleep and Your Health
If you have recently been diagnosed with sleep apnea or need a referral to a sleep specialist, contact our office today electronically to schedule a consultation. You can also reach our Missouri City office by calling 281-499-3541 or reach our Richmond location at 281-342-6178.