Do you sleep all night and still wake up groggy? Or do you wake up each morning with a headache or a dry mouth? These could be symptoms of sleep apnea. At Advanced Dentistry of Butler, we take a holistic approach to dentistry because we understand that your body’s systems are interconnected—each different system affects each other. Our all-inclusive approach to dentistry means that we treat sleep, too. Sleep apnea is a disorder that causes you to stop breathing and affects your entire body, and it’s something that our sleep dentist, Dr. Robert Fornalczyk, can help with.
Sleep apnea is a common condition that is 80% undiagnosed and untreated, partly because it happens at night when you’re asleep (or so you think). During sleep apnea, you’ll experience pauses (complete stops!) in breathing that can last anywhere from ten seconds to a minute or longer in severe cases. The pauses can happen hundreds of times per night. Once your brain recognizes the lack of oxygen and excess CO2, it’ll awaken you to resume breathing. You may not notice or remember these awakenings because they are so brief.
There are Three Different Types of Sleep Apnea
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea is the most common type of sleep apnea. It occurs when a physical blockage in your airway stops your breathing. Usually, this blockage is due to sagging soft tissues in your throat, your tongue, or a blockage in your nasal passage.
- Central sleep apnea is much less common than the former. It is when your brain doesn’t tell your lungs to breathe while asleep. Central sleep apnea is most common in older adults and premature babies.
- Complex sleep apnea is a combination of obstructive and central sleep apnea, and it is even rarer still. Complex sleep apnea can start as obstructive sleep apnea and develop into central sleep apnea due to a dependence on your CPAP machine. In these cases, Oral Appliance Therapy can produce better long-term results.
Do you think you might have sleep apnea but aren’t sure which kind? The only way to know if you have sleep apnea, which type, and how severe it is, is to get a sleep study. Contact your Butler, PA, sleep dentist, Dr. Fornalczyk, for referral to our preferred sleep testing facility.
Sleep Apnea Has Diverse Symptoms
One of the reasons that sleep apnea goes undiagnosed is that it has diverse symptoms that seemingly could point to other disorders and illnesses. This sole fact makes it hard for doctors to diagnose. However, your sleep dentist in Butler, Dr. Fornalczyk, has studied sleep apnea extensively and has experience spotting and treating it. If you think you might have sleep apnea, your best chance at life-changing treatment is a sleep dentist. Look out for these common symptoms:
- Loud snoring: Does your partner, or anyone else in the house, complain of loud snoring? Get checked for sleep apnea if your snoring is loud enough to wake up others.
Pro Tip: Do you sleep alone? Set up your phone to record your sleep. If you hear loud snoring and have other symptoms, you should call Dr. Fornalczyk at (724) 282-4436.
- Excessive daytime sleepiness: Many people get a little crash in the afternoon, but excessive daytime sleepiness is different. Do you fall asleep or fear you might during work? Watching TV during the day? Driving?
- Morning headaches: Do you wake up each morning with a headache that dissipates within an hour or so? If you present other symptoms but are unsure about headaches, pay attention to how you feel shortly after awakening. These headaches are typically intense but go away quickly.
- Cognitive issues: After many nights of fragmented sleep, you’ll notice mental issues such as irritability, trouble concentrating, and memory problems.
- Frequent nighttime urination: Have you ever wondered why you don’t have to urinate all night long? It’s because your body regulates your fluids differently during sleep. But when you awaken, you have to use the bathroom right away. If you constantly awaken due to sleep apnea, your body thinks you’re awake for the day and lets you know you need to use the bathroom.
The above symptoms are common in those who have sleep apnea, but they are not the only symptoms. Not having one or two doesn’t exclude the possibility of sleep apnea, so it’s vital to get a medical opinion anyway.
There are Many Causes of Sleep Apnea
People can develop sleep apnea for many reasons. The most common are
- Extra weight
- Being male
- Genetic issues such as a narrowed airway or large neck circumference
- Medical conditions
- Smoking, alcohol, and other sedatives
Anyone Can Have Sleep Apnea
In Butler, PA, and surrounding areas, people may have heard that sleep apnea is a disorder exclusive to overweight, older men. This common misconception causes people not to seek diagnosis or treatment.
Anyone can have sleep apnea.
Men, women, and children of any weight can develop sleep apnea.
It’s Important to Treat Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a systemic disorder. It affects your entire body, and it’s essential to find a treatment that’ll work for you and your lifestyle. Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States, and those who have sleep apnea commonly develop it. The extra pressure in your chest caused by your fragmented sleep and stoppages in breathing can eventually lead to stress on your heart. Sleep apnea can also lead to Alzheimer’s Disease because you aren’t asleep for long enough for your brain to perform vital functions, such as washing away toxic chemicals. Sleep apnea also causes REM sleep deprivation, which can lead to reduced cognition and memory issues.
People in Butler who think they may have sleep apnea turn to sleep dentist Dr. Fornalczyk for treatment. He can help you find a treatment that works. You’ll gain a higher quality of life and avoid sleep apnea complications with treatment.
CPAP isn’t the Only Treatment Option
CPAP used to be the gold standard for sleep apnea treatment. But today, you have other options. Oral appliance therapy is a treatment option for mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea. It’s a sleek orthotic that you pop into your mouth whenever you sleep. It is customized to fit your mouth, and it holds your jaw slightly forward. With your jaw slightly forward, your airway is opened up, and any sagging soft tissues don’t stop your breathing.
People in Pennsylvania find the oral appliance comfortable, easy to adhere to, and simple to use.
Sleep Apnea Treatment in Butler Enhances Your Quality of Life
With oral appliance therapy from your Butler sleep dentist, you’ll get your life back. You’ll finally get the sleep your body is longing for and notice that your symptoms dissipate quickly. With sleep apnea treatment, you’ll sleep soundlessly without awakening, wake each morning without headaches, be energized and happy during the day, and live a longer and healthier life.
Call Butler, PA’s number one sleep dentist, Dr. Fornalczyk, at (724) 282-4436 or make an appointment online to get a good night’s sleep.