Are you having trouble sleeping? Is your roommate, spouse, or partner constantly complaining about your snoring? Sleep disorders are more common than you might think. If you’re having trouble getting a good night’s sleep, it’s time to seek help.
Apnea means “cessation of breath”. Therefore, apnea is when you stop breathing. Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is when your airway becomes obstructed during sleep, causing you to stop breathing. Your upper airway is surrounded by muscles. The largest of these muscles is the tongue. When we are awake, we have a certain tightness, or tonicity, in our upper airway muscles, but during sleep these muscles will relax.
Our caring and conscientious team at DC Dental Spa are quite deliberate and thorough when it comes to evaluating whether you are suffering from sleep apnea. We have access to the latest in advanced technology in our clinic as well as our calming atmosphere to help us research your situation. Call 202-873-1054 for your initial consultation and let us help you determine how we can improve your sleeping habits with sleep testing. Our goal is to help you feel well-rested and we wish to provide you with the specialized treatment you need for all your oral health care.
As you breathe during sleep, Obstructive sleep apnea is the result of the throat and upper airway muscles relaxing and beginning to vibrate. This vibration is you snoring. These muscles can relax even more and collapse into the airway, closing your throat and then prohibiting any air from flowing into your lungs. When this happens and you stop breathing, your body will respond as if you are suffocating. Your brain now realizes that you are not receiving oxygen from your lungs, and will arouse you from deeper stages of sleep, which is where rest occurs, to a lighter stage of sleep. By moving you to a lighter stage of sleep your brain can move the throat muscles to open your airway to resume breathing. This cycle of suffocation, apnea, and arousal to breath can happen hundreds of times a night. Recent studies have shown that 25% of America adults are at high risk for sleep apnea. 40% of American
The Health Risks of Sleep Apnea
Here are some serious consequences of untreated Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA):
- Increased high blood pressure.
- Increased risk of stroke.
- Increased incidence of atrial fibrillation.
- Increased risk of diabetes.
- Headaches and migraines.
- Poor memory and other cognitive impairments.
- Increase in Gastrointestinal Reflux Disease (GERD).
- Increase in Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in children.
- Male impotence and decreased sex drive.
- Increased risk of motor vehicle accidents.
Symptoms of Suffering from Sleep Apnea
These are some signs that show you may have sleep apnea that can be diagnosed with sleep testing:
- Waking up due to gasping or choking.
- Excessive daytime sleepiness.
- Nighttime grinding of teeth.
- Restless or unrefreshed sleep.
- Memory loss.
- Frequent waking during sleep.
How is Sleep Apnea (OSA) diagnosed?
For the proper diagnosis of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) an overnight sleep test is necessary. The test consists of placing sensors on your body to measure your body functions such as your breathing, blood oxygen saturation, respiratory effort, brain activity and your body position.
Traditionally sleep tests have been conducted in a sleep facility, rather than in your home. These studies are called Polysomnographs (PSG) and have been used for many years. Recently home testing has become approved by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine for diagnosis of Obstructive Sleep Apnea.
A Comparison, Sleep Facility or At Home
- Polysomnograph (PSG)- This type of sleep test has been the standard of care for many years. These tests are performed in a sleep laboratory where you are constantly monitored throughout the night by sleep technicians. The advantage to a Polysomnograph test is that it usually measures many different bodily systems, such as EEG for brain activity, and often measures more unique body signals. The disadvantages to the Polysomnograph (PSG) are convenience, costs, access to care, and the quality of your sleep during the test.
- Home Sleep Test (HST)Home sleep testing devices
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine in 2009 approved the usage of portable sleep testing for the diagnosis of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). This home sleep testing must be performed with a Level III portable sleep device that can measure at least four different systems on the patient. After we have given you instructions on how to attach the device, you take the device home and wear it in your own home overnight. The advantages to Home Sleep Testing (HST) are your convenience, easy access to care, decreased cost, and a more typical night of sleep recorded. The major disadvantages to Home Sleep Testing (HST) is that they measure fewer channels than a full PSG, which could potentially result in less accurate diagnosis.
How can DC Dental Spa help You with your Sleep Apnea?
After we have diagnosed your sleep apnea through the sleep testing procedures, there are several treatment options available for us to discuss. Some are designed to lessen the symptoms, while others are designed to address the primary cause.
- A Change in Lifestyle Habits: This is the least popular option, even though your overall health and your daily habits can be the leading causes of your sleep apnea. If you would like to first avoid a dental appliance then start with your diet, avoid smoking and alcohol, and exercise frequently. These factors will not only reduce or eliminate your sleep apnea, but they will improve your overall health and wellbeing.
- CPAP Machine: The most common solution for sleep apnea is a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Machine) machine, which is a mask that fits over both your mouth and nose at night that is designed to keep your airways open while you sleep.
- Oral Appliances: If you wish to avoid the use of a CPAP machine, there are also several oral appliances that are much easier. If you are interested in one of these devices and to see if having one custom made for you is your best option, talk with us at DC Dental Spa.
- Surgery: It is always best to avoid unnecessary surgery, but there are available procedures that are effective in widening your breathing passageways. Our staff would prefer you exhaust the other options first.
High Quality Care You Can Trust
At DC Dental Spa our downtown office staff will patiently evaluate your situation and will work with you to accommodate your busy schedule. We understand both your frustrations with poor sleep and your objectives to correct those problems. We build on the gratification that comes with the ongoing development of relationships through health improvements with all our patients. We are compassionate, caring, and thoughtful about exercising preventative overall dental health and delivering the enjoyment that comes with your healthy smile. Visit us today at DC Dental Spa, 730 24th St. NW, Suite 9, Washington, DC, 20037, or call 202-873-1054 for an evaluation and consultation to see if you can benefit from have a sleep test for your possible sleep apnea. Let us help you improve your sleeping habits and your quality of life.