Feel rested, prevent health complications: Sleep apnea treatment at the dentist’s office in Chevy Chase, MD
Any condition that interferes with your ability to get uninterrupted, quality sleep that is so necessary to your overall health and well-being is characterized as a “sleep disorder.” So, why is a dentist talking about sleep disorders? Dentists like Drs Erick Hosaka and Valerie Cassis are adept at accurately diagnosing, managing, and treating those disorders that are rooted in how air flows through the airway when you’re relaxed: sleep apnea.
Our professionals at Hosaka Dental in Chevy Chase, MD, are experts at maintaining and restoring the health and look of the teeth and gums. Yet, our expertise does not stop there; we are skilled and knowledgeable about other tissues and structures connected to and associated with the oral cavity (mouth).
Sleep apnea explained
Sleep apnea arises when the muscles in your throat relax to the point where they block the air from flowing through your airway. Your brain gets the message that you “can’t breathe” and, in the act of self-preservation, awakens your body from sleep. Usually, this abrupt awakening is accompanied by a gasp or a snort. Additionally, many sleep apnea sufferers often snore very loudly. Though, snoring in and of itself is not a cause for concern. Nearly all of us will have some bouts with snoring during our lifetimes. This pattern of sleeping and reawakening can occur dozens of times each hour. So, it is not surprising that many people with undiagnosed sleep apnea complain about:
- Feeling sleepy, even after getting eight-plus hours of sleep each night.
- Chronic headaches and migraines.
- Irritability and other personality or mood changes.
- Persistent dry mouth and sore throat.
- Poor concentration, cognitive decline.
Moreover, the lack of restorative sleep can stress your heart and other organs. Untreated sleep apnea increases your risk of developing various severe medical conditions, from Type 2 diabetes and liver damage to hypertension and cardiovascular disease. Chronic sleeplessness also puts you at heightened risk of getting into accidents on the job or while driving. Of course, persistent snoring and other symptoms and complications of sleep apnea do not just affect the person with this condition; it can also damage relationships between partners and other family members.
Depending on what we find during an evaluation, Drs Hosaka or Cassis may recommend oral appliance therapy. A device may be customized to your mouth. When worn as directed, this mouthpiece repositions the jaw and supports healthy tissue posture. With tissues that formerly blocked the airway out of the way, you can breathe normally and unimpeded throughout the night. Our patients appreciate these appliances as an alternative to CPAP therapy. They are generally easier to wear and get accustomed to, and they are easier to clean, less noisy, and more discreet than the CPAP machine. Oral appliances easily go wherever you go and fit into a more compact case than the storage you use for your sunglasses or to organize your pills.
Sleep apnea is a serious condition. Do not put off getting the treatment that you need to be healthy. If you suspect that this disorder is to blame for your distressing symptoms, call us at (301) 686-5255 to schedule your evaluation.