Sleep Apnea In Wilmington, Delaware

What Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

The most common form of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea. This type of sleep apnea occurs when your airway completely or partially collapses during sleep causing interruptions in your airflow and breathing. These interruptions, which commonly manifest themselves with snoring and/or gasping, decrease the oxygenation to the brain and body.

When your breathing is interrupted, you wake up, but may not even be aware the next day that you woke numerous times during the night. These repeated wake ups dramatically reduce the quality of your sleep, resulting in many potential health problems. Surprisingly, approximately 80% of people with obstructive sleep apnea remain undiagnosed.

Delaware Dental Studio is committed to diagnosing and treating its Wilmington patients with their sleep apnea with dental oral appliances so they can live healthier, longer lives.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea is a serious sleep-related breathing disorder. This sleep disorder has specific symptoms, some occurring while you are awake and others occur during sleep. The more common symptoms include:

  • Snoring: One of the most common symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea is snoring. It is not, however, a definitive indicator. When snoring is coupled with pauses, snorting sounds, gasps, and/or choking sounds, there is a higher likelihood you have obstructive sleep apnea.
  • Waking Up While Sleeping: A strong sign of sleep apnea is waking up in the middle of the night for no apparent reason other than your own snoring or gasping.
  • Chronic Exhaustion: Waking up exhausted despite sleeping eight or more hours is another sleep apnea symptom. Other similar symptoms include excessive daytime fatigue, struggling to stay awake during the day, or even feeling unrefreshed in the morning. 
  • Other Symptoms: There are many other indicators you may have sleep apnea, including daytime sleepiness, troubles concentrating, chronic headaches, irritability, and a sore throat in the morning. 

The risk of sleep apnea is much higher when multiple symptoms are present. The presence of one of more symptoms does not necessarily mean, however, that you have obstructive sleep apnea. Ultimately, our sleep apnea expert, Dr. Lynn Fee, will need to perform a home sleep study to definitively diagnose whether you have obstructive sleep apnea. Home testing is very easy and minimally disruptive, especially if you are concerned that sleep apnea is impacting your sleep health.

What Are the Risks of Untreated Sleep Apnea?

There are serious health repercussions when obstructive sleep apnea is not treated. Significantly, not treating sleep apnea strains the cardiovascular system due to oxygen desaturation and results in heart-rate and blood-pressure spikes. For this reason, among others, sleep apnea is strongly correlated with strokes, heart disease, hypertension (high blood pressure), and heart attacks.

Sleep apnea has also been associated with weight gain, diabetes, difficulty losing weight, and abnormal hunger. Because weight gain exacerbates sleep apnea, a vicious cycle is created with the onset of sleep apnea: You continue to eat more than you normally do, gain weight, which in turn worsens your sleep apnea.

The other negative health effects of sleep apnea include:

  • Depression
  • Weight gain
  • Cardiovascular issues
  • Daytime fatigue
  • Impotence
  • Impaired cognitive ability
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Dry mouth
  • Severe headaches
  • Acid reflux (heartburn)
  • Type 2 diabetes

Healthy sleep is imperative to your overall health. If you have obstructive sleep apnea and leave it untreated, you are jeopardizing your health and the long-term effects can be life threatening.

How A Dentist Can Help With Your Sleep Apnea: Oral Appliance Therapy

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine recommend oral appliances for adults with obstructive sleep apnea who prefer to use an alternative therapy option to a CPAP mask. Oral appliances are medically proven to help patients with obstructive sleep apnea. This treatment involves a comprehensive diagnostic process, custom oral appliance, and follow-up appointments with Dr. Lynn Fee to ensure the efficacy of the oral appliance. 

A sleep apnea oral appliance looks very much like a night guard, but it is designed to treat abnormal breathing during sleep. This appliance treats sleep apnea by preventing the tissues and muscles from blocking the airway by holding the jaw in a stable position. Unlike continuous positive airway pressure (CPAPs) masks, oral appliances are much easier to use with minimal discomfort. While CPAPs remain the gold standard in treating obstructive sleep apnea, they are well known to be uncomfortable, inconvenient, and difficult to use while sleeping. Oral appliances offer an effective alternative to a CPAP mask.

At Delaware Dental Studio, we can prescribe and design many different kinds of custom-fitted oral devices that are designed to keep your airway open during sleep. Dr. Lynn Fee, a specialist in sleep apnea treatment, will custom fabricate your oral appliance to fit your mouth perfectly.

Learn More About Sleep Apnea – Schedule A Free Consultation Today!

If you toss and turn during the night, wake up frequently, or snore regularly, you may be suffering from obstructive sleep apnea. If you have experienced one or more of these symptoms, schedule a free consultation with Dr. Lynn Fee, our Wilmington dentist, today. 

Through the use of various custom-fitted oral devices, Delaware Dental Studio can help you reclaim your sleepless nights and reduce the health risks associated with your sleep disorder. To schedule an appointment, please contact us at (302) 475-0600, or drop by our office at 2500 Grubb Rd, Suite 130, Wilmington, Delaware 19810. We’re always accepting new patients, and we hope to see you soon.

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