Grove City Dentist Serving Columbus, Dublin, Hilliard, Ohio
You may think snoring is just an annoyance, but it can be serious. Snoring can cause real tension between co-sleepers (according to studies, people who sleep with snorers may lose as much as two hours of sleep a night), but it can also be a sign of a serious medical condition known as obstructive sleep apnea.
At Sheridan Dental, we have helped many snoring and sleep apnea sufferers to sleep quietly and deeply. To learn more about sleep apnea and whether our Columbus area neuromuscular dentist can help you, please schedule your FREE sleep apnea consultation today.
In obstructive sleep apnea, the narrow airway that causes snoring completely collapses, cutting off your air. Essentially, your own tissues are choking you, and in order to stop it, your brain will wake you just enough that your muscles can reopen the airway. Though you are not aware of these partial awakenings, they may happen dozens of times an hour, preventing you from getting a good night's sleep.
If your sleep is interrupted by sleep apnea, you are at an increased risk for a number of physical and psychological conditions, ranging from memory loss and personality changes to high blood pressure and heart attacks.
But first you may notice a number of innocent-seeming signs, like:
Lack of motivation
Inability to concentrate
Dozing off in the middle of work or while driving
What Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
In obstructive sleep apnea, the airway collapses during sleep, interrupting breathing. During the day, the airway is held open by muscles, but when you sleep, these muscles relax, allowing the airway to collapse. When your brain senses an oxygen deficiency, it works to restore airflow by partially waking the body so the muscles can reopen the airway. Because the tissues of the airway also depend on the jaw for support, a poorly positioned jaw can cause or contribute to sleep apnea.
Your body and brain suffer from these short periods of oxygen deprivation. Your body suffers because during periods of reduced oxygen in the blood, the heart works harder to pump more blood to meet the body's demand for oxygen. This leads to:
High blood pressure
Coronary artery disease
Other cardiovascular conditions
The failure to sleep also affects your hormonal balance and may make you gain weight even if you are dieting and following a good exercise regimen, and may increase your risk for diabetes.
Your brain suffers because the periods of wakefulness prevent you from ever reaching the deep sleep that your brain needs. As a result, you may suffer:
Inability to concentrate
Personality changes including mood swings or rages
These psychological effects can lead to strain in your personal relationships, affect your job performance, and put you at an increased risk of accidents, especially car accidents.
Diagnosing Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea can be diagnosed either at a sleep center during an overnight polysomnogram or at home with the use of a take-home sleep test. We have a longstanding relationship with many sleep centers in the area and can arrange for a sleep test at a location near your home. We can also provide you with a take home sleep test so that you can get the information necessary for diagnosis in the comfort of your home. Both methods are effective, but which one is right for you depends on your sleep situation.
Sleep apnea can be mild, moderate, or severe, depending on the number of waking episodes and the amount of oxygen deprivation you suffer. The level of your sleep apnea will affect your treatment options.
Sleep Apnea Treatment
There are many sleep apnea treatment options. For very mild sleep apnea, and as a complement to other sleep apnea treatments, behavioral therapy is recommended. Avoiding alcohol at night, losing weight, quitting smoking and getting to bed on time can all reduce the severity of your apnea.
For mild and moderate sleep apnea, our neuromuscular dentist often recommends oral appliance therapy. This means that while you sleep you wear a mouthpiece that holds your jaw and/or tongue in place to help keep your airway open. We can recommend an appliance for your situation, fit it, and ensure it is helping to reduce your apnea.
More severe sleep apnea is typically treated with Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP). CPAP uses an air pump and mask to pump air into your throat, keeping it open. Some people complain about CPAP as being uncomfortable, and a majority of people prescribed CPAP are unable to keep up treatment for even a year. Unfortunately, some are afraid they will be prescribed CPAP and avoid getting diagnosed for sleep apnea. But, the truth is, many people can get the life-saving benefit of sleep apnea treatment without CPAP.
Surgery and medication are also treatment options.
Why Choose Us for Your Sleep Apnea Treatment
Dr. Raymond Sheridan has received training in the treatment of sleep apnea from the Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies. He was also one of the first dentists in the Columbus, Ohio area to treat sleep apnea, and has helped many sufferers to find relief, including a number of children suffering from this serious condition. Because of our experience and reputation, we can help you schedule a sleep test at a sleep center close to your home, but we also offer the option of an at-home sleep test for your convenience.
To find a snoring solution in Grove City and Columbus, or to learn more about sleep apnea and how our neuromuscular dentistry team at Sheridan Dental can help you, please contact us to schedule your FREE initial consultation today.