Sleep apnea is one of the leading causes of death and disability in the U.S. today, and yet it is seriously unrecognized, undiagnosed, and under treated. As a part of our commitment to complete, comprehensive patient care, Dr. Garceau is dedicated to facilitating diagnosis and therapy for sleep apnea to patients throughout the Windsor, CT community.
Sleep apnea is a condition in which your breathing stops periodically during sleep, as many as 20-30 times per hour. Each time you stop breathing in your sleep, the resulting lack of oxygen alerts your brain, which temporarily wakes you up to restart proper breathing. Since the time spent awake is so brief, most people with sleep apnea don't remember it, and many believe they are getting a good night's sleep when, in fact, they are not. The constant wake-sleep, wake-sleep cycle prevents those with sleep apnea from achieving deep sleep, resulting in a constant drowsy feeling during the day.
What are the signs of sleep apnea?
The following symptoms can indicate the presence of sleep apnea. If you notice one or more of these, contact our Windsor, CT dental practice.
- Daytime drowsiness
- Loud snoring at night
- Waking with a dry mouth
- Acid reflux
- Clenching and grinding of teeth
- Sore teeth and facial muscles upon waking
- High blood pressure
Types of Sleep Apnea
- Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) occurs when breathing is blocked by muscles, fat, or the tongue. OSA is more common in males than females, and more common in older adults (40+) than younger adults and children. However, anyone — regardless of gender or age — can suffer from sleep apnea. Other risk factors include obesity, smoking, drinking, use of sedatives or tranquilizers, and family history. Dr. Garceau can treat OSA with dental appliances that prevent the tongue from blocking the airway and maintain ideal airflow. Additionally, basic treatment can be behavioral — for instance, patients are instructed to lose weight, stop smoking, or sleep on their sides instead of on their backs.
- Central sleep apnea (CSA) occurs when the brain does not signal the body to breathe. This must be treated with an air mask/CPAP prescribed by a sleep physician. Central sleep apnea strikes most often in people with heart disorders, neuromuscular disorders, strokes, or brain tumors.
Is sleep apnea dangerous?
Sleep apnea is considered a serious medical problem and if left untreated it can lead to high blood pressure, increasing the risk of heart failure and stroke. The ongoing state of fatigue caused by sleep apnea can lead to problems at work or school, as well as danger when driving or operating heavy machinery. Sleep apnea can also cause complications with medication or surgery; sedation by anesthesia can be risky, as can lying flat in bed after an operation. If you know or suspect you suffer from sleep apnea, let your family doctor know before taking prescribed medication or having surgery.
Sleep Apnea Treatment with Dr. Garceau
Sleep apnea treatment success depends on many factors, including how severe the apnea was to begin with, as well as how compliant patients are with their treatment (wearing sleep guards or CPAP masks). We have had many patients say that wearing their sleep guard has been life changing, increasing their energy as well as their partners’ energy! While no treatment has guaranteed success, sleep guard treatment can be as effective as CPAP therapy for mild to moderate OSA. Contact our Windsor, CT dental office to learn more about sleep apnea treatment options. Depending on your situation, treatment may involve an oral device that we can custom-create for you.
While snoring is a common problem for many people, it can also be a sign of other major health complications. It is estimated that more than 80 million people in North America snore while sleeping, which not only affects the quality of sleep of the person snoring, but also the quality of sleep of their loved ones and other family members. Luckily, there is a way to treat chronic snoring.
What causes snoring?
Snoring can be the result of several factors. Typically, snoring is caused by the relaxing of the muscles and soft tissues in the throat and mouth, making the air passage smaller. The decrease in space through the airway makes it harder for each breath to get through, and when it does get through, it moves over the soft tissues in the mouth and throat and causes a vibration that results in the snoring sound. Other causes of snoring may include:
- Excess body weight
- Alcohol consumption
- Certain sleep aides or sedatives
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
What is a Mandibular Advancement Device?
If you snore at night, then a mandibular advancement device (MAD) may represent a solution and a better night's sleep! The MAD is a specially designed dental device that gently helps keep the lower jaw, or mandible, in a forward position, increasing the space between the airway passage and helping you breathe better so you can get a full, quiet night's sleep.
Some devices also stop the tongue from falling back over your windpipe. Dr. Garceau will fit these special appliances to meet your individual condition.
Is a MAD comfortable?
The answer is simple — YES! A mandibular advancement device is made to be comfortable, so that you can sleep without even noticing you're wearing it. It does not prevent you from breathing with your mouth open and will even eliminate snoring for patients with sinus congestion or allergies. You may experience some slight stiffness of the jaw for the first few mornings after wearing the device, but this feeling is only temporary, and will go away after you wake up and remove the device.
To learn more about a mandibular advancement device, contact our office and schedule an appointment and consultation.