Sleep Apnea

sleep apneaThe experienced dentists at Dental Professionals of Fair Lawn are experts in treatments for sleep apnea and snoring that can reduce risks to your health and give you a more restful night’s sleep.

Sleep apnea is a very common and potentially life-threatening condition often characterized by excessive snoring and/or breathing pauses while sleeping. Other signs of sleep apnea include headaches, fatigue, and restless sleep. Often, people with sleep apnea do not know they are struggling to breathe properly overnight. Generally, it is necessary for a friend or loved one to alert them to their snoring and difficulty breathing. Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), the most common form of the condition, often causes individuals to suddenly stop breathing for up to ten seconds or more while they are asleep. These interruptions in breathing are often caused by the body relaxing, leading to blockage of the air passages. This can lead to very serious health risks, including sudden cardiac death. Sleep apnea can also lead to:

  • Loss of memory
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Stroke
  • Gastric reflux disease
  • Stress, anxiety, or depression
  • Heart attack
  • Obesity
  • Sexual dysfunction

Am I at Risk for Sleep Apnea?

While sleep apnea is a condition that can affect men, women, and children of any age and background, this disorder is more likely to occur in individuals with certain risk factors. During your consultation, our dental professionals will ask you several questions about your medical history and evaluate your neck, jaw, and oral structures to help arrive at a diagnosis. Patients with the following characteristics are typically at a higher risk for developing sleep apnea:

  • Large tonsils, a large tongue, and/or a small jawbone
  • A family history of sleep apnea
  • Nasal obstruction (as a result of allergies, sinus problems, or a deviated septum)
  • Gastroesophageal reflux (GERD)
  • Smoking
  • A larger neck (over 17 inches in men; over 16 inches in women)
  • Male
  • Over the age of 40
  • Overweight

Treatment Options for Sleep Apnea

If your dentist suspects you might be suffering from sleep apnea, we can refer you to a local medical sleep study practice that we work with. After a sleep study has been completed and you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, we can have a customized oral sleep appliance – similar to a mouth guard – created for you. These form-fitting appliances are designed for the most comfortable fit possible. Oral sleep appliances can open the airways while you sleep, allowing for a more positive airflow through breathing passages. This can ultimately lead to a more restful and healthier night’s sleep, as well as a reduction in snoring. This form of treatment can be very beneficial for reducing the many health risks related to sleep apnea. For many people, the oral sleep appliance can also be an excellent alternative to surgery or a cumbersome CPAP machine. We are also able to create a customized snore guard for patients who do not have sleep apnea, but still want to correct their snoring.

Schedule a Sleep Apnea Assessment

If you or a loved one snores or has difficulty breathing while sleeping, we can help. Please contact Dental Professionals of Fair Lawn today to schedule a consultation and sleep apnea assessment.

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