No matter what position you sleep in, do you find yourself snoring? Do you feel drowsy even when you’ve slept for eight uninterrupted hours? Unfortunately, these seemingly harmless annoyances can actually be a sign of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which poses a serious threat to your overall health. The good news is that you might be able to receive a diagnosis and treatment for obstructive sleep apnea in less than a week by visiting a qualified dentist. Continue reading to learn more about obstructive sleep apnea symptoms.
About Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a potentially life-threatening sleep disorder. This type of apnea occurs when the throat muscles relax and block the airway during sleep, sometimes for short periods and sometimes for longer periods. Anyone can develop OSA, but there are certain risk factors associated with it:
- Excess weight
- Narrow airway
- Consistent nasal congestion
Especially if you have any of these risk factors, keep an eye out for the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea. If you believe you’re suffering from this disorder, notify your dentist or doctor for diagnosis and treatment.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea Symptoms
All of the following are obstructive sleep apnea symptoms:
- Loud snoring
- Waking up gasping or choking
- Dry mouth or sore throat upon waking
- Morning headaches
- Mood changes like depression
- High blood pressure
- Decreased libido
- Night sweats
- Trouble waking up in the mornings
- Restlessness during the night
- Difficulty remembering
The most common and obvious symptom of obstructive sleep apnea is loud snoring. Snoring can be caused by other factors as well, of course, but we encourage you to get tested for sleep apnea if your snoring is affecting your quality of life. OSA can disrupt your sleep, make you feel extra drowsy, and even cause you to have trouble focusing. In rare cases, you might wake up gasping or choking due to a pause in your breathing – if this happens to you, seek medical attention immediately.
Receiving a Diagnosis and Treatment
Thanks to advancements in the dental field, you might be able to receive a diagnosis and treatment for OSA in just a few days from a qualified dentist. First, your dentist will administer a symptom and risk factor screening questionnaire. Upon reviewing your risk score, your dentist may recommend a cone beam computerized tomography (CBCT) scan of the head and neck, which can be completed quickly in-office, assuming your dentist has the right equipment.
If your dentist finds cause for concern based on the scan, you might need to use an overnight sleep apnea monitor provided by your dentist. This device records the severity of any sleep apnea by monitoring episodes of interrupted breathing. These results will help your dentist determine if you might benefit from a dental appliance, which works by moving the jaw forward and increasing the size of the upper airway, providing a clear pathway for air to move. For more severe cases of OSA, your dentist will refer you to a specialist for a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine.
At Duff Family Dental, we are proud to be one of the few dental providers in southwest Missouri able to diagnose and treat OSA. We offer a variety of other dental services as well, including cosmetic dentistry, pediatric dentistry, composite fillings, dental bonding, and more. Ask our qualified staff what Duff Family Dental can do for you. We’ll work with you to choose the OSA treatment that works best for your situation, and we can customize our treatment options to meet your needs. To get started, give us a call at 417-501-8601 or schedule an appointment online. We look forward to seeing you!