Sleep apnea and snoring can be very serious health risks. Recent studies have shown that mild to moderate sleep apnea (regardless of the cause) increases the risk of death from heart attacks and strokes by more than 6 times normal. Sleep apnea can occur when your airway closes at night, cutting off your breathing. Since dentists routinely have the opportunity to evaluate a patient’s airway, we are in a unique position to help our patients recognize that they have a potentially life-threatening problem.
If you suspect that you may be suffering from sleep apnea in Corpus Christi, we can help. Please call (361) 851-8274 or email the Corpus Christi Center for Cosmetic Dentistry today for a consultation.
Signs and Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
Although easily treated if it can be diagnosed, most people who have the condition don’t know or don’t suspect they have it. Perhaps 80% of people with sleep apnea are undiagnosed. Unfortunately, doctors are also not well-trained to recognize sleep apnea. Here are some of the common signs and symptoms to watch out for:
- Daytime sleepiness
- Dozing off during activities
- Morning headaches
- Waking feeling unrested
- Lack of interest
- Weight gain
- Memory problems
Many of these symptoms are common to a number of conditions, and it’s not unusual for doctors to misdiagnose sleep apnea as being a mood disorder or hormone problem. It’s important to start the conversation with your doctor or see a sleep dentist if you have these symptoms. If you have received a diagnosis of depression, testosterone deficiency, chronic fatigue syndromes, or similar conditions, but the recommended treatments aren’t working, consider that sleep apnea might be your true problem.
Trained and Experienced in Identifying Sleep Apnea Risk
Our office has the education and experience to help our patients recognize whether they have Sleep Apnea or not. We have portable take home ResMed® recording devices that you can use in the comfort of your own home to determine if you have a potential problem. This is an inexpensive and simple way to determine if you might have sleep apnea or if you are just snoring. It is also a whole lot easier than going to the physician and spending a lot of time and money getting to the same answer.
If the problem is severe enough, we may refer you to your physician, armed with the ResMed report or directly to a Sleep Study Center for a polysomnogram (PSG). If it is a mild form of Sleep Apnea, we can use oral appliances that can be worn comfortably at night to correct the airway obstruction.
Sleep Apnea Treatment Options
There are many ways to treat the condition, but most doctors will just prescribe you CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) or some variation. This treatment works very well for some patients, but over 50% of the patients who have been prescribed a C-PAP have not been able to successfully wear them. You may be a candidate for a SomnoMed®. This is an oral appliance which can be used to relieve the airway obstruction and eliminate snoring and sleep apnea.
For mild to moderate sleep apnea, it’s usually acceptable to use an oral appliance as a frontline treatment. For severe sleep apnea, you might have to try CPAP first.
To learn more about sleep apnea in Corpus Christi, please contact the Corpus Christi Center for Cosmetic Dentistry today for a consultation.
Sleep Apnea is a medical condition that must be diagnosed by a Sleep Physician with an overnight sleep study (PSG). Sleep Dentists work with the physician to manage the Sleep Apnea with appropriate oral appliances. Dentists cannot treat Sleep Apnea without a referral from a Sleep Physician.