Snore lessSleep More

Trying to choose the right Cosmetic Dentist? Meet an accredited member of the AACD.

Sleep Apnea

According to the National Sleep Foundation, as many as 18 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea, a condition that causes a person to repeatedly stop breathing during the night. If left untreated, sleep apnea can result in symptoms such as fatigue and headaches, as well as more life-threatening health conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and even sudden cardiac death. At Merit Dental, our experienced dentist can help in the treatment of sleep apnea. We provide a number of options that can reduce snoring and pauses while breathing for a more restful, healthier night’s sleep.

Why Does Sleep Apnea Occur?

There are three types of sleep apnea: obstructive, central, and mixed. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses during sleep, ultimately causing a blocked airway. In central sleep apnea, the signal for the body to inhale does not get transmitted from the breathing center in the brain. Mixed sleep apnea is a combination of the two.

Sleep apnea can cause pauses while breathing, snoring, and in some cases, teeth grinding during sleep. Sleep apnea patients can stop breathing hundreds of times during the night – often for a minute or longer. As a potentially life-threatening condition, it is very important for patients to be aware of the signs and symptoms of sleep apnea, and to receive an evaluation for the condition as soon as possible.

Health Risks Associated With Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea can have severe health risks, and sometimes fatal consequences, when left untreated. Some of the health conditions from sleep apnea include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Stroke
  • Sudden cardiac death
  • Heart disease
  • Gastric reflux
  • Insomnia
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Depression
  • Memory loss

What Treatment Options Are Available for Sleep Apnea?

Fortunately, there are a variety of treatments available that can reduce snoring and other symptoms of sleep apnea. Oral appliances like customized night guards and snore guards are specifically designed for an individual patient’s mouth to maintain a positive rate of airflow through the oral and nasal passages. These appliances are designed to be as comfortable as possible, and they can ultimately work to reduce snoring, prevent breathing pauses, and diminish the clenching and grinding of teeth during sleep. Other treatments for sleep apnea may include:

  • Positional therapy
  • Surgery
  • Positive airway pressure devices used with breathing masks

If you think you may be suffering from sleep apnea, please contact us today to schedule a comprehensive assessment. Our dentist will be happy to meet with you and develop a customized treatment plan to help reduce your symptoms.

Back to Top