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Sleep Apnea Treatment

Danny O'Keefe D.D.S. Aug 26, 2015

A man snoring next to a woman holding a pillow over her earsSleep apnea is a condition in which a person stops breathing for seconds at a time while sleeping. If untreated, sleep apnea can lead to major health problems like high blood pressure, stroke, or heart conditions. While sleep apnea is commonly treated with breathing devices, many patients can benefit from dental treatments, like oral appliances and mouth guards, to alleviate symptoms. Dr. Danny O'Keefe offers a range of general and restorative dentistry treatments to meet each patient's needs. To learn more about sleep apnea treatment, we welcome you to schedule a consultation with Jackson dentist Danny O'Keefe.

The Signs and Causes of Sleep Apnea

There are three different types of sleep apnea, though they all result in interrupted breathing when sleeping. These include obstructive, central, and complex sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is caused when the soft tissue at the back of the throat physically blocks the airway. Central sleep apnea is caused when the brain fails to properly signal the muscles responsible for controlling breathing. Complex sleep apnea is caused by a combination of obstructive and central sleep apnea. Regardless of the type of sleep apnea, the signs and symptoms include:

  • Sleeping interrupted by periods of cessation of breath
  • Breathing that stops and starts suddenly while sleeping
  • Waking abruptly followed by shortness of breath
  • Loud snoring
  • Constantly feeling fatigued
  • Waking up with headaches
  • Waking up with a sore throat or dry mouth

Sleep Apnea Treatments

There are a variety of treatment options available to treat sleep apnea. The type of treatment used will depend on the needs of the patient. Some may benefit from traditional breathing devices while others can wear oral appliances while sleeping.

  • Continuous positive airway pressure device: Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) devices are breathing devices worn while sleeping. CPAP devices deliver pressurized air through a mask worn over the nose to help keep the airways open and prevent apnea.
  • Bilevel positive airway pressure device: Bilevel positive airway pressure (BPAP) devices adjust the air pressure being delivered while sleeping to allow more pressure while inhaling and less when exhaling.
  • Expiratory positive airway pressure device: Expiratory positive airway pressure (EPAP) devices are small devices worn over each nostril during sleep. EPAP devices have valves that allow air to easily travel through the nose. These valves have small holes through which the exhaled air must pass; this increases the pressure in the airways and helps keep the air passages open.
  • Oral appliances: Obstructive sleep apnea can be treated with oral appliances such as mouth guards. Oral appliances can be used to reposition the tongue to help prevent it from blocking the airways, or to keep the jaw positioned in a way that keeps the throat open. Dr. O'Keefe offers customized oral appliances to treat the unique needs of each patient.

Schedule a Consultation with Dr. O'Keefe

If you suffer from sleep apnea or have concerns that you may be, we encourage you to seek treatment as this condition can lead to major health problems. Schedule a consultation with Dr. O'Keefe today.

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