Sleep apnea is more than bothersome snoring. It’s a potentially dangerous sleep disorder that steals adequate oxygen, rest and overall good health. Sacramento dentists, Dr. A. Scott Grivas III and Dr. Will Koett Jr., want patients to understand the signs of sleep apnea. Plus, they offer innovative and effective solutions.
Signs of Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea affects people of all ages and social classes. However, men over the age of 40 seem more at risk as are people with large neck circumferences (>17” for me and 16” for women), allergies, large tonsils and struggles with alcohol abuse or tobacco usage.
Sleep apnea deprives the brain of oxygen leading to immediate and far-reaching symptoms that harm people’s interpersonal relationships, daily functioning and overall health. Experts say that sleep apnea comes in three types:
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea, or OSA, in which the soft tissues at the back of the throat relax, covering the airway
- Central Sleep Apnea, or CSA, in which the brain does not tell the respiratory system to keep breathing
- Mixed Sleep Apnea, which combines both types of sleep apnea
While very loud, persistent snoring is the most noticeable symptom, other signs, such as waking up gasping for air, clue primary care physicians and dentists that something is very wrong.
Along with multiple nightly episodes of sleep cessation, sufferers often wake with dry mouths (xerostomia) and headaches, and they feel irritable, sleepy, and anxious. Some individuals struggle with their memories and daytime fatigue.
In addition, people with sleep apnea often have larger health problems–that is, they also have serious medical issues that appear linked to sleep apnea. Researchers and sleep physicians believe sleep apnea contributes to:
- Type-2 Diabetes
- Metabolic syndrome
- Liver and kidney problems
- Cardiovascular disease
- Erectile dysfunction
- Reduced libido
Sleep Apnea Treatment in Sacramento
As part of routine exams, Dr. Koett and Dr. Grivas screen their patients for important oral health issues: tooth decay, gum disease, oral cancer, poor bite, TMJ dysfunction and, of course, sleep apnea. If the dentist suspects sleep apnea, he may refer the patient to his or her primary care physician or to a sleep specialist for further evaluation such as in-office or at home apnea monitoring. With a confirmed diagnosis of sleep apnea, the physician often refers refers patients to Dr. Grivas for oral appliance therapy.
While sleep apnea sometimes requires more complex treatments such as CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machines or even surgery to stiffen the palate or remove excess oral tissue, many patients benefit less invasive treatments. A customized oral appliance can reposition the patient’s lower jaw into a more forward position to allow the free passage of air. Crafted from comfortable acrylic, the appliance is worn whenever the individual sleeps.
An oral appliance safely eliminates snoring and the continual wake/sleep episodes. Patients sleep well and wake up rested, as do their households.
If You are Snoring…
You are not alone. Dr. Grivas and Dr. Koett and their dedicated team can help. To set-up a sleep apnea consultation, contact A. Scott Grivas III DDS. You’ll learn if a customized mouthguard can help you get a full night’s sleep and benefit your systemic health as well.