Sleep apnea is a deadly condition in which your breathing stops while you sleep. With treatment, most of the risks of sleep apnea can be prevented or reduced, but there’s a problem. Most doctors will prescribe a treatment that, while effective, is also intrusive, inconvenient, and uncomfortable and many people do not use it as much as they should. Fortunately, a more comfortable treatment alternative is available. An oral appliance is like a sports mouthguard that you wear at night to hold your jaw in the proper position to maintain breathing.

If you would like to learn more about sleep apnea and the convenient treatment options available, please call (407) 834-6446 or email us in Altamonte Springs for an appointment with an Orlando sleep dentist.

Portrait of a man sleeping with an open mouthSymptoms of Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea can be hard to diagnose because the condition happens while you’re sleeping. There are some things to look out for, such as:

  • Snoring—most people with obstructive sleep apnea snore, and the louder the snore, the greater the risk
  • Waking up feeling unrested
  • Feeling sleepy during the day
  • Dozing off during breaks or even in the middle of tasks
  • Moodiness or depression
  • Memory problems
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Loss of interest or energy
  • Weight gain or difficulty losing weight

Because many of these are common symptoms that can be caused by many illnesses, your doctor may not consider sleep apnea. It’s important to bring it up if your doctor doesn’t. Because of the link between sleep apnea and heart problems (see below), if you have high blood pressure, your sleep apnea risk is much greater.

Sleep Apnea: Causes and Effects

What causes your breathing to stop in sleep apnea? In the most common form, it’s caused by relaxation of muscles and other tissues in your head and neck. This causes your airway to constrict (causing snoring) and close (causing apnea). When your breathing stops, oxygen levels in your blood drop. Your brain responds to the oxygen loss by waking partially. This interferes with your sleep, which explains why you aren’t getting any rest.

Your brain then tells your heart to beat harder and faster to get more oxygen pumping. This is hard on the heart and contributes to the risk of high blood pressure. Intermittent oxygen shortage and high blood pressure cause damage throughout the body, affecting your metabolism, kidneys, and other aspects of your health.

A More Convenient Sleep Apnea Treatment

Most doctors will prescribe a kind of sleep apnea treatment called continuous positive airway pressure or CPAP. This consists of an air pump and mask that forces air into your throat, keeping it open. This is a very effective treatment, but many people find it uncomfortable and hard to use.

We offer oral appliance therapy. In oral appliance therapy, you just put the appliance in when you go to bed. It holds your jaw in a position that is more favorable for maintaining an open airway. This treatment is easier for many people, who use it more often and therefore get better sleep apnea treatment.

If you suspect that you have sleep apnea or want a more convenient sleep apnea treatment in the Orlando area, we can help. Please call (407) 834-6446 or email Orlando sleep dentist, Dr. Weinstock in Altamonte Springs, for an appointment today.