Do you find yourself feeling tired during the daytime? Do you snore loudly or wake up in the middle of the night breathless? If you’re experiencing any of these concerns, it could be sleep apnea.

At Dental Arts of Boston, our dentist in Boston, Dr. George Stevens, understands the complications of sleep apnea and offers customized treatment plans to suit your condition. If you believe you’re suffering from sleep apnea, call our office at (617) 266-0441 to learn more about this treatment.

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a chronic sleep disorder that affects your breathing and wakes you abruptly. It is a condition during which your breathing stops recurrently during sleep. Every time you stop breathing, the oxygen levels go down and activate your brain. As a result, you wake up instinctively to restart proper breathing.

Most patients will not take notice of this condition and go back to sleep immediately. The constant disruptions can affect your sleep quality, making you feel sleepy throughout the day. Additionally, this sleep disorder is more prevalent among men but can also take place in women, especially after menopause.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea manifests through a range of symptoms, which may vary in severity. Recognizing these signs is crucial for early diagnosis and intervention. Here are common symptoms of sleep apnea:

  • Loud Snoring: Frequent, loud snoring is a hallmark symptom of sleep apnea. It occurs due to the vibration of tissues in the throat as airflow becomes restricted.
  • Pauses in Breathing: Witnessed pauses in breathing during sleep, often accompanied by gasping or choking sounds, are indicative of sleep apnea.
  • Excessive Daytime Sleepiness: People with sleep apnea often experience persistent drowsiness during waking hours, leading to impaired concentration and performance.
  • Morning Headaches: Frequent morning headaches are a result of reduced oxygen levels during sleep apnea episodes.
  • Irritability and Mood Changes: Sleep apnea can lead to mood swings, irritability, and even depression due to disrupted sleep patterns.
  • Restless Sleep: Individuals with sleep apnea may exhibit restless movements during sleep, including tossing and turning.
  • Dry Mouth or Sore Throat: Breathing through the mouth, common in sleep apnea, can lead to dry mouth and throat irritation upon waking.
  • High Blood Pressure: Sleep apnea is associated with an increased risk of hypertension, making blood pressure monitoring important.

How Sleep Apnea is Diagnosed

Dentists like Dr. Stevens play a pivotal role in identifying potential cases of sleep apnea. Through thorough oral examinations and specialized screening tools, they can spot indicators like teeth grinding, jaw irregularities, or enlarged tonsils.

When such signs arise, dentists may refer patients for a polysomnogram, a comprehensive sleep study conducted by sleep specialists. This study provides crucial insights into a patient’s sleep patterns, breathing, and oxygen levels, aiding in accurate diagnosis.

What Lifestyle Changes Should You Make?

The solutions to treat sleep apnea will depend on the cause and severity of symptoms. The main focus of sleep apnea treatments will be to normalize breathing during sleep and address any underlying health conditions. The first vital step to normalize breathing will be to incorporate lifestyle modifications such as:

  • Develop healthy sleeping habits
  • Limit alcohol consumption and quit smoking.
  • Consume a healthy diet.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Loss your excessive weight.
  • Sleep on your abdomen or sides instead of your back

Oral Appliances Treatment

After confirming your sleep apnea diagnosis, our Boston dentist may recommend an oral appliance. These appliances can help ease mild to moderate sleep apnea symptoms. They look and function similar to a mouthguard. When you wear it during sleep, it prevents the obstruction of the airway. They work to keep the lower jawbone forward during sleep. This shifting of the jawbone moves the tongue away from the back of the throat, minimizing the chances of obstruction.

We fabricate, fit, adjust, monitor, and address complications associated with oral appliance therapy at our office. This therapy is based on scientific evidence, and it’s an excellent remedy to attempt before moving on to more complex breathing devices. We will recommend surgery as a last option.

Benefits of Sleep Apnea Treatment

Addressing sleep apnea through effective treatment yields numerous benefits, positively impacting both physical and mental well-being. Here are the key advantages of seeking treatment for sleep apnea:

  • Improved Sleep Quality
  • Enhanced Daytime Alertness
  • Decreased Risk of Health Complications
  • Enhanced Mood and Emotional Well-Being
  • Reduced Daytime Fatigue
  • Lowered Blood Pressure
  • Improved Quality of Life
  • Decreased Risk of Accidents (Both Work and Road)

Frequently Asked Questions

▼Can untreated sleep apnea lead to other health problems?

Untreated sleep apnea poses significant health risks. It’s linked to an increased likelihood of developing cardiovascular issues, high blood pressure, diabetes, and a range of other serious health conditions. Seeking timely treatment is crucial for mitigating these risks.

▼ Can sleep apnea be cured?

While sleep apnea can’t be completely cured, effective treatment methods exist. These treatments can significantly reduce or even eliminate the symptoms associated with the condition, thereby lowering the associated health risks and improving overall quality of life.

▼ Are there any specific exercises that can help with sleep apnea?

Yes, certain exercises focusing on throat and tongue muscles, combined with an emphasis on cardiovascular fitness, can potentially assist in managing sleep apnea. These exercises are aimed at strengthening the airway and may complement other treatment approaches.

▼ Can children develop sleep apnea?

Yes, sleep apnea can affect children as well. It’s more commonly observed in children with enlarged tonsils or adenoids, obesity, or certain craniofacial conditions. Early recognition and intervention are crucial in managing sleep apnea in pediatric cases.

Ready to Get Better Sleep? Call Dental Arts of Boston!

To learn more about sleep apnea treatments, visit our Dental Arts of Boston office at 26 Marlborough St Dental Suite, Boston, MA, 02116. You can also reach us at (617) 266-0441 and schedule an appointment. You can also request an appointment online and schedule a consultation. We proudly serve the cities of Boston, Cambridge, Brookline, Revere, MA, and the surrounding metro area.