We all feel better and ready to tackle the day after a good night’s sleep. Yet for millions of Americans, quality nighttime sleep is a struggle due to sleep-related breathing disorders, such as sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder characterized by brief interruptions in breathing during sleep. The most common type of sleep apnea is caused when you have an obstruction in the airway. If the muscles in the back of the throat become too relaxed, the flow of air can become restricted during sleep, causing a person to stop breathing for a short period of time. This can happen up to 400 times per night without the person even being aware of it!

Untreated, sleep apnea is not only difficult for you and your loved ones, but it can interfere with your general health and your ability to function normally during the day. Thankfully, McLean DDS offers non-invasive treatment for sleep apnea sufferers so that you can finally get the restful sleep you need.

What Are Sleep Apnea Symptoms?
Because sleep apnea occurs during sleep, it can be difficult for some people to recognize symptoms. Common signs that you or a loved one has sleep apnea include:

  • Loud, chronic snoring at night
  • Difficulty sleeping or insomnia
  • Daytime fatigue
  • Inability to focus on daily tasks
  • Irritability
  • Morning headaches or sore throat

How Can My Dentist Help?
While sleep apnea can have negative effects on your quality of sleep, it can also have a significant impact on your general health. Left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to high blood pressure and increased risk of heart disease and stroke. Chronic daytime fatigue caused by sleep apnea can also lead to difficulty concentrating at work or school. You may also pose a threat to your safety and the safety of others when driving or operating heavy machinery.

The type of treatment recommended for sleep apnea will vary depending on the individual and severity of the sleep disorder. At McLean DDS, we are specially trained to treat sleep apnea symptoms and work closely with our patients’ physicians and sleep specialists to provide the most appropriate treatment.

Common sleep apnea treatments may include one or a combination of the following:

  • Changes to lifestyle: Mild cases of sleep apnea can be treated through simple lifestyle changes. This may include modifying your diet, losing weight, avoiding excess alcohol and smoking, or changing sleep positions.
  • Oral appliance: Along with lifestyle changes, some people with sleep apnea may benefit from a dental appliance as an alternative to loud CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machines. These non-invasive mouth pieces resemble a mouth guard and are custom fitted in our office to open your airway while you sleep.
  • Surgery: In rare cases, your physician may recommend a surgical procedure to remove the extra fatty tissue blocking your airway.

Great Sleep Starts Now!
If you think you or your partner may be suffering from sleep apnea, contact our office today. During an appointment with our dentist, we can discuss your symptoms, refer you to a qualified sleep specialist and determine which type of treatment would benefit you the most. Rest assured that better sleep is in your future!

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