Benton & Nelson DDS

Untreated Sleep Apnea is Damaging to Your Health

December 28, 2021
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Posted By: Benton and Nelson DDS

A good night’s sleep is a vital component of human health. But for 22 million Americans, restful sleep might be hard to achieve, and sleep apnea is to blame. But while sleep apnea is treatable, eight in ten sleep apnea sufferers don’t even know they have it.

When left untreated, sleep apnea can exacerbate problems with your overall health, including chronic coronary issues. Up to 38,000 people per year die of heart problems related to sleep apnea, so it’s something we should all take seriously.

What Does Sleep Apnea Look Like?

Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder with two varieties. The obstructive type occurs when your airway becomes constricted while you sleep. This happens when the tissues supporting your airway collapse depending on your head and neck position. Airway collapse interrupts your standard breathing patterns.

Signs and symptoms of sleep apnea:

  • Excessive snoring
  • Gasping or choking sounds during sleep
  • Morning headaches
  • Intense sleepiness during the day
  • Irritability.

Ignoring Sleep Apnea Is Dangerous

Sleep apnea is associated with a reduction in sleep quality. Still, it also can significantly impact your health and is associated with high blood pressure, heart failure and stroke, irregular heartbeat, type 2 diabetes, depression, and chronic digestive problems.

How to Treat Sleep Apnea

If Dr. Blake Nelson diagnoses you with obstructive sleep apnea, one treatment is to fit you with a sleep appliance for you to wear at night. These devices, also known as night guards or snore guards, change the position of certain parts of your mouth.

We offer two main types of dental sleep apnea devices: mandibular repositioning devices and tongue retaining devices.

A mandibular repositioning device repositions your lower jaw, moving it forward to help support the tissues around your airway, keeping it open. Dr. Nelson prefers this type of device for treating obstructive sleep apnea. 

A tongue retaining device design is such that it holds the tongue forward, which also keeps it from blocking your airway. 

Sleep Apnea Treatment in Winston-Salem, NC

So, if you can’t remember the last time you had a good night’s sleep and are concerned you may be suffering from sleep apnea, please contact us to schedule a consultation today. Our caring team is ready to help you achieve the restful sleep that leads to optimal health.

 

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What is sleep apnea and how can my dentist help?

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a condition where a person periodically stops breathing during the night, leading to decreased oxygen levels and less restful sleep.  The cause of sleep apnea can be obstructive (when the person stops breathing because the airway is blocked by soft tissues such as the tongue, tonsils, soft palate, etc.) or central (when the person's brain stops signaling for the body to breathe during sleep).  

How do I know if I have sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea can only be diagnosed by your physician.  Signs ...

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