Do you suffer from Fatigue?
Do you find yourself troubled by fatigue, irritability and forgetfulness throughout the day? An often overlooked catalyst, sleep apnea, may be the cause. Sleep apnea is a disorder marked by breathing difficulties that cause sleep disruption. During sleep, the muscles in the back of the throat relax, and can block the airways, causing you to briefly awaken several times an hour throughout the night. It is an all-too-common condition that can have serious detrimental effects on your health.
At the Center for Dental Excellence, Dr. Gordon Bell provides effective treatment for patients suffering from sleep apnea in York, Lancaster and surrounding communities. To learn more about common causes and symptoms of sleep apnea, contact our practice today using our convenient online form.
Common Sleep Apnea Symptoms
Snoring is one of the most apparent symptoms of sleep apnea, and was once considered the only symptom. However, in addition to snoring, sufferers may also experience:
- Trouble sleeping and frequent waking throughout the night
- Waking with a sore or dry throat
- Choking or gasping during the night
- Fatigue and sleepiness in the daytime
- Irritability or mood changes
- Headaches upon waking
Beyond fatigue and discomfort, it has been discovered that other effects of sleep apnea can be quite serious. These include:
- High blood pressure
- Increased risk of heart disease
- Increased risk of diabetes
- Weight gain
New research has also indicated a link between obstructive sleep apnea and the development of academic problems and ADHD symptoms in children and adolescents.
Individuals identifying with any symptoms of sleep apnea are encouraged to visit their primary care physician or American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) certified sleep physician. Once patients receive a diagnosis of sleep apnea from a sleep physician (using data analyzed in a sleep lab, which closely analyzes their nighttime habits), the appropriate therapy can be prescribed based on the patients’ specific individual diagnosis and needs. Dr. Bell works with sleep specialists to provide the optimal personalized treatment for each individual.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea is considered a very serious medical condition, and can lead to several complications. Occasional daytime fatigue may be common, but repeated awakenings and a lack of oxygen make normal sleep patterns impossible to achieve.
Many patients find it difficult to concentrate or focus due to their excessive sleepiness, and those who suffer from sleep apnea have an increased risk for motor vehicle and workplace accidents.
Sleep apnea patients have also been linked to a higher incidence of high blood pressure, heart conditions, type 2 diabetes, liver problems, metabolic syndrome, and complications with medications and surgical procedures.
Although there are a number of over-the-counter methods such as nasal strips that claim to reduce or eliminate snoring, it is better to see a medical professional for proper diagnosis and treatment to avoid any serious health risks. Improper treatment or misdiagnosis can lead to symptoms worsening.
Alcohol, sleeping pills, and sedatives can cause the muscles in your mouth and throat to become too relaxed, which can result in snoring. If you do not use or stop using these substances and your snoring does not improve, prescription snoring treatments may be necessary. Oral appliances are often the first choice of treatment for snoring.
The Center for Dental Excellence is able to provide effective and individualized treatment for patients with custom oral appliances. Dr. Bell offers both TAP® and SomnoMed® oral devices. Our office will take highly accurate impressions of your teeth and the surrounding tissues, and will create a specialized mouth guard. This guard will be custom fit to your exact specifications, and calibrated to shift your jaws and open your airways. When your airways are opened, you will be able to obtain a much more restful night’s sleep.
Whether your snoring is caused by a serious condition or is an isolated issue, Dr. Bell can recommend an appropriate and customized treatment plan to help you get better and more restful sleep.
Importance of Seeking Treatment from Your Dentist
Dr. Bell can discuss your snoring and sleep habits with you during a regular dental exam and take measurements of your soft palate and uvula to determine if your snoring may be related to sleep apnea. If your soft palate is elongated or your uvula is enlarged, you may have sleep apnea, and he may recommend a sleep study to confirm this diagnosis. Dr. Bell offers multiple snoring and sleep apnea treatment options. Whether your snoring is caused by a serious condition or is an isolated issue, he can recommend an appropriate and customized treatment plan to help you get better and more restful sleep.
Treatment Options for Sleep Apnea in Hellam
During an initial consultation at our office, you can learn more about what type of sleep apnea treatment is best for you. In addition to lifestyle changes – including losing weight, changing sleeping position, or avoiding alcohol and sleeping aids, for example – Dr. Bell utilizes a number of effective treatment methods, including the TAP® and SomnoMed® oral appliances.
Unlike the CPAP machine, which provides a steady stream of air through a mask worn during sleep, oral appliances are typically considered more comfortable, and easier to integrate into a patient’s sleep routine. Oral appliances work by shifting the position of the lower jaw, tongue and throat muscles, opening the airway and allowing more oxygen to enter the bloodstream and circulate throughout the body. Because these appliances are custom designed, patients benefit from increased comfort and ease-of-use.
Candidates For Treatment
You may be a good candidate for sleep apnea treatment if you suffer from any of the following symptoms:
- Extremely loud, disruptive snoring
- Interrupted sleep
- Restless sleep
- Headaches when you wake
- Dry or sore throat when you wake
- Irritability or other mood changes
Benefits of Sleep Apnea Treatment
There are a number of short- and long-term benefits provided by sleep apnea treatment. Shortly after beginning your treatment, you should notice significant changes in your sleep patterns, such as sleeping through the night. You will likely wake in the morning feeling more rested and energetic than before, and you may notice you no longer wake with a sore throat or a headache.
Sleep apnea treatment can also prevent several long-term health issues. Because sleep apnea involves multiple interruptions in breathing each night, death is a possibility. In addition to improving your ability to breathe, effective treatment can prevent several serious health conditions, such as diabetes, depression, stroke, and heart disease and heart attack. Simple, non-invasive treatment can improve the quality and length of your life.
Modern treatment approaches are comfortable and convenient. Oral appliance solutions offered by Dr. Bell include SomnoMed® and TAP®, both of which are completely customized and adjustable to accommodate each patient’s unique needs. With most oral appliances, you have full function of your mouth and have the ability to speak, drink, yawn, and even take medication while wearing your appliance. These non-invasive treatments can provide significant and lasting relief that preserves your overall and oral health.
Your customized oral appliance options are created from impressions of your teeth and then sent to a lab. We will take impressions during your first consultation. It can take one to two weeks for the lab to craft your custom appliance. When it is ready, you will come back to the office and Dr. Bell will ensure that it fits properly and is comfortable. TAP® offers some same-day solutions, which allow patients to be fitted in a single appointment and treatment can start the same night.
Commit To Better Health Today
At the Center for Dental Excellence, we are committed to helping our patients live happy, healthy lives. One of the ways we achieve this goal is through the successful implementation of our sleep apnea treatments for patients in Hellam & York. If you find yourself feeling especially fatigued during the day, in spite of what you believe is an adequate amount of sleep, contact our office to schedule a consultation with certified sleep therapy specialist, Dr. Gordon Bell.
“Very good patient interaction and working environment. On time appointments – very good at respecting my time as well as performing at a high level. Have recommended to anyone seeking to make a change or new to the area.” – Tim C., Healthgrades.com