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Sleep Apnea FAQ From DentAlign NYC

Sleep apnea is a common disorder characterized by brief pauses in breathing during sleep. Dr. Kenn Kakosian DDS of DentAlign NYC invites you to learn more about the types of sleep apnea, its treatment, and more. We treat sleep apnea at our dental office in New York City. We’ve prepared answers to your most frequently asked questions about sleep apnea, including treatment options and symptoms. If you know sleep apnea is preventing you from getting a good night’s sleep or you suspect that it might be, be sure to educate yourself and then contact our office to schedule a consultation.

What causes sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is caused by your airways being obstructed while you sleep. Sometimes sleep apnea is caused by the muscles in your tongue and throat relaxing and blocking your windpipe. Structural issues can also cause sleep apnea, such as having a large tongue or tonsils. Individuals who are overweight are also at an increased risk of sleep apnea. People with untreated sleep apnea can stop breathing for at least 10 seconds at a time. Your body will wake up out of deep REM sleep, not allowing you to enjoy the benefits of REM sleep.

What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?

Snoring is the most common sign of sleep apnea, although it’s not always present. Many symptoms of sleep apnea happen while you’re awake, and include excessive daytime sleepiness, dry mouth or sore throat after waking, and morning headaches. Other sleep disorders, such as insomnia, nightmares, and sleep deprivation, can also be signs of sleep apnea. Additional symptoms of sleep apnea may include uneven breathing, depression, anxiety, mood issues, weight gain, and difficulty concentrating. Sleep apnea tossing and turning is often a sign that you should visit your doctor or dentist, and there are other subtle signs of sleep apnea they can help you look for.

How do I know if I have sleep apnea?

If you suspect you have sleep apnea, the best way to find out is to visit a sleep apnea doctor or dentist who can treat sleep apnea with a sleep test. Patients suspected of having sleep apnea undergo a sleep study called a polysomnogram. Most often, you will have to spend the night at a test site, but sometimes the tests can be done from home. While you sleep, you will be monitored, and the technologist will check your brain activity, heart rate, blood oxygen levels, and breathing patterns. Once the study is complete, your doctor will determine if you have sleep apnea. During the study, you are hooked up to a sleep apnea machine that sends all this information to the technologist, who then generates a report.

What are the treatment options for sleep apnea?

The good news is that sleep apnea can be treated, and there are multiple sleep apnea treatment options available. The two most popular sleep apnea devices are a CPAP machine and a sleep apnea mouthguard. Other options to treat sleep apnea include lifestyle changes, surgery, and prescription medications. If you have sleep apnea, it’s advised that you avoid alcohol, quit smoking, and lose weight. Patients with sleep apnea should also avoid sleeping on their backs. Let’s take a look at the two most popular sleep apnea treatment options:

  • CPAP Machine: A continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine is used to treat severe obstructive sleep apnea. The patient wears a mask in which air is pumped into through tubes. The mask is secured onto the face with straps. The CPAP machine provides a controlled stream of air that opens the relaxed muscles, much like inflating a balloon. Different amounts of pressure can be used, and your physician will prescribe your set amount.
  • Mouth Guard: This sleep apnea treatment option is much easier to use than a CPAP machine, and it’s also easier to transport. This oral sleep appliance keeps your airway open while you sleep. Dr. Kenn Kakosian DDS of DentAlign NYC specializes in sleep apnea mouthpieces to manage your mild or moderate obstructive sleep apnea.
What causes snoring?

Both snoring and sleep apnea are caused by blocked airways, due to tissue, a large tongue, large tonsils, or collapsing muscles. Snoring can also be caused by allergies, a cold, alcohol consumption, or being overweight. Treating sleep apnea often cures snoring.

What are the side effects and dangers of sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea can result in several adverse side effects if left untreated. As your airway collapses, blood oxygen levels drop. This releases stress hormones into your bloodstream, which in turn increases blood pressure. Sleep apnea can also cause other side effects, including additional sleep disorders, strokes, heart attacks, heart failure, irregular heartbeats, diabetes, depression, headaches, and the worsening of ADHD. If your sleep apnea is left untreated, it can have devastating effects on your health. Since many patients don’t realize they have sleep apnea, it’s important to be educated about the condition and its effects so you can get tested if you think you might have it. Untreated sleep apnea can result in cardiovascular diseases, such as high blood pressure, cognitive impairments, and a higher risk of death or injury resulting from impaired driving.

What is the difference between a CPAP machine and a sleep apnea mouth guard?

There are pros and cons to each option used to treat sleep apnea. While the CPAP machine is considered to provide the best treatment for obstructive sleep apnea, these devices can be uncomfortable and cause negative side effects. They’re also difficult to transport and require daily cleaning. Many patients end up ditching their CPAP machines for sleep apnea mouth guards because they’re so comfortable and easy to use.

What are the different types of sleep apnea?

While you can safely describe any type of sleep apnea as simply “sleep apnea,” there are multiple types of the disorder. Each may require different treatment options, as some are more serious than others. The following are the types of sleep apnea you may be diagnosed with:

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA): This is the most common type of sleep apnea. When your throat muscles relax while you sleep, your air passages can become blocked when the soft tissues around your throat and nasal airways relax and impede the free flow of air.
  • Mild OSA: Mild obstructive sleep apnea occurs in a person who suffers five to 14 episodes of interruption in breathing in one hour.
  • Moderate OSA: Moderate obstructive sleep apnea occurs in a person who suffers 15 to 30 episodes of interruption in breathing in one hour.
  • Severe OSA: Severe obstructive sleep apnea occurs in a person who suffers 30 or more episodes of interruption in breathing in one hour.
  • Central Sleep Apnea (CSA): This disorder occurs when there’s an imbalance in your brain’s respiratory control center during sleep. This disrupts the signals between your brain and your diaphragm muscles that control breathing.
  • Mixed Sleep Apnea/Complex Sleep Apnea: This type of sleep apnea is a blend of both obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea.
Is sleep apnea treatment affordable?

Yes, sleep apnea can be treated without breaking the bank. Dr. Kenn Kakosian DDS of DentAlign NYC is here to help you treat your sleep apnea. Our practice offers comprehensive treatments, including oral appliance therapy. These sleep apnea devices can include inserts similar to nightly mouthguards. This device keeps your airway open continuously and fits comfortably in your mouth. If more intense care is required, a CPAP machine may be used. Our New York City dental practice has financing options in place to help you treat your sleep apnea.

Schedule Your Sleep Apnea Consultation Today

When you need sleep apnea treatment in New York City, trust the best. Dr. Kenn Kakosian DDS of DentAlign NYC specializes in sleep apnea treatment options in addition to complete dental services such as Invisalign, root canals, veneers, teeth whitening, dentures, TMJ treatment, and much more. Contact our team today to schedule an appointment.

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