If you experience daytime grogginess, loud snoring, or waking in the night, gasping for air, then you could suffer from sleep apnea. This sleep disorder is not acutely life-threatening, but it could leave you with severe health concerns if the issue continues without treatment.
Your general practitioner can evaluate your sleep and provide treatment, but your dentist can also help with this condition. Dr. Justin Deckard, a dentist practicing in Washington, DC, describes the medical risks involved with untreated sleep apnea.
What Do Patients with Sleep Apnea Experience?
Individuals with sleep apnea experience periods of breathing cessation caused by an obstruction in the airway. The soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses during sleep, blocking air from flowing freely to and from the lungs.
This condition is unlikely to be life-threatening in the moment, as the periods where the disorder occurs are brief. Some patients may not realize they have sleep apnea since it presents while they are unconscious. Therefore, it is important to pay attention to how you feel during waking hours.
What Happens If I Do Not Treat Sleep Apnea?
While sleep apnea may seem like a mild condition, the long-term effects of the disorder can become severe. The repeated periods of interrupted breathing create pressure on the heart, increasing the risk of heart attacks, strokes, or other cardiovascular problems.
Continuously disrupted sleep can have a negative impact on your wellbeing as well. Sleep apnea patients may experience cognitive issues as well as a higher likelihood of depression and other concerns.
Which Treatment Will Work For Me?
Your doctor may recommend sleep apnea treatment using a CPAP machine. This device involves a mask worn over the nose or mouth attached to a machine that forces air through your airway as you sleep.
Some patients may find this device loud or uncomfortable, lowering their likelihood of continuing their treatment. For mild sleep apnea cases, a dentist can create a custom mouthguard that a patient can wear. This should keep their jaw in a position that will prevent soft tissue collapse from blocking the airway.
Dental Sleep Apnea Treatment in Washington, DC
DC Precision Dentistry treats sleep apnea and other dental concerns in patients in Washington, DC. Dr. Deckard specializes in restorative, implant, cosmetic, and general dentistry for patients of all ages. To schedule a consultation appointment with our practice, contact us online or reach our office by phone at 202.851.7554.