Sleep Apnea Treatments
Sleep apnea is a disorder that affects many adults. Often characterized by loud snoring and interrupted breathing during sleep, this condition can leave patients tired, irritable, and unable to focus the next day. Left untreated, it can also increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. If you suspect that you may suffer from sleep apnea, Dr. Danny O’Keefe can evaluate you at his Flowood, MS, office and recommend a treatment plan. Call our office today to schedule your appointment.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea is a common disorder in which a person has multiple brief pauses in breathing during sleep, preventing them from achieving restful sleep. These interruptions in breathing occur because the soft palate collapses in the back of the throat, blocking the airways. The pause in breathing can last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes. Sufferers may experience over 30 pauses in an hour. A second and much rarer form of the condition is central sleep apnea, which occurs when the brain fails to regulate breathing during sleep. This is far more serious, and requires a specialist's care.
Sleep apnea symptoms include:
- Periodic interruptions in breathing while sleeping
- Being tired and unable to focus during the day
- Waking up with a sore or dry throat
- Recurrent awakenings or insomnia
Several characteristics can increase your risk of developing sleep apnea:
- Being male
- Being overweight
- Having a large neck
- Being over age 40
- Family history of sleep apnea
- Gastroesophageal reflux (GERD)
- Nasal obstruction
- Having large tonsils, a large tongue, or a small jawbone
If sleep apnea is left untreated, it can:
- Increase risk of high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, obesity, and diabetes
- Make irregular heartbeats more likely
- Increase risk of heart failure
- Increase risk of driving or work-related accidents
- Lead to depression
- Cause headaches
- Lead to poor performance at work or school
Since sleep apnea is a chronic condition, it may require some lifestyle changes if you are experiencing adverse effects. These changes can include:
- Losing weight
- Avoiding alcohol and sleeping pills
- Stopping smoking
- Changing sleep positions and avoiding sleeping on your back
After a thorough evaluation of your teeth, jaw, tongue, and airway, Dr. O’Keefe may recommend an oral appliance to be worn when you sleep. The oral appliance is similar to a sports mouth guard, and it holds your jaw in a forward position to keep your upper airway open as you sleep.
Dr. O'Keefe can determine if you have sleep apnea, and recommend treatment to help you achieve restful sleep.
Dr. O’Keefe will make impressions of your teeth and send them to the dental lab for fabrication of the oral appliance. Once the appliance is ready, you will return to our office for a fitting. We will teach you how to clean and maintain it. For successful long-term treatment, you will return to Dr. O’Keefe’s office for routine visits to adjust and assess the oral appliance.
Benefits of Oral Appliance Therapy
Many patients are satisfied with oral appliance therapy because they are:
- Easy to wear
- Easy to maintain
Call Today for an Appointment
If you are experiencing symptoms of sleep apnea, contact us today. Dr. O'Keefe can determine if you have sleep apnea, and recommend treatment to help you achieve restful sleep.