January 14, 2014
People who experience loud and frequent snoring, gasping or choking, or long pauses in breathing while asleep could be suffering from sleep apnea. This potentially dangerous disorder affects both sleep patterns and waking life. This can lead to chronic tiredness that diminishes productivity as well as medical problems related to the heart and circulatory system. When signs and symptoms manifest, it may be time to see Dr. Johnston at Johnston Dental Care. Dr. Johnston is a Ruston, Louisiana dentist who has special training in obstructive sleep apnea treatment.
These sleep disturbances associated with sleep apnea can appear in several ways, including the following:
• Obstructive apnea involves partial or complete closure of the throat when the soft tissues collapse and fail to open back up. This is the most common type of sleep apnea, and dental treatment may be effective for controlling symptoms.
• Central apnea involves a problem with the central nervous system in which the brain doesn’t properly signal muscles that control breathing.
• Complex or mixed apnea is a combination of the obstructive and central types.
Symptoms to watch out for include loud and persistent snoring, restless sleep, morning headaches, daytime sleepiness, difficulty concentrating or staying awake during the day, and changes in mood. Gasping, choking and waking up feeling out of breath are also indicative of apnea problems.
There are many factors that can contribute to nighttime apnea problems. Lifestyle factors such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption and being overweight increase the risk of soft tissue collapse in the throat, leading to episodes of obstructive sleep apnea during the night. Structural causes include muscle weakness or abnormalities in the throat, a receding or jutting lower jaw, an enlarged soft palate and enlarged tonsils. Those with a family history of nighttime apnea and who suffer from conditions such as GERD may also be at risk. Individuals with these risk factors may wish to look into how sleep apnea and dental treatment are connected.
For those with mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea, a visit to a trained dentist such as Dr. Lamar Johnston can be a positive step towards relief. Dr. Johnston can fit apnea sufferers with oral appliances that keep airways open during sleep. Two common types are the mandibular advancement device (MAD), which pushes the lower jaw forward and down; and the tongue retaining device (TRD) that holds the tongue in place. Dr. Johnston can provide the right dental treatment to help individuals manage their condition, sleep better and have better overall quality of life. Please contact our office for an assessment questionnaire and appointment to see if you are a candidate for a sleep apnea appliance.
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