Sleep apnea is a condition that causes a person to stop breathing during the night without realizing it. People with sleep apnea may stop breathing hundreds of times per night, slowly suffocating themselves to death.
Causes of Sleep Apnea
At its root, sleep apnea is caused by poor physiology of the airway and by poor childhood development, such as allergies, large tonsils & adenoids, genetics, large tongues, small dental arches, poor posture.
Effects of Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea can dramatically reduce a person's life expectancy. How? It all comes down to oxygen. Sleep apnea lowers the blood oxygen level to dangerous levels. A person with sleep apnea can then experience organ failure symptoms such as high blood pressure, diabetes, congestive heart failure and stroke.
Sleep Apnea Diagnosis
Sleep apnea screening can take place at our dental office. A diagnosis of sleep apnea can only be made by a physician. That's why at Hanswirth Dentistry, we like to work with a credentialed sleep center. Using what we call the "Medical Model"—where dentists and physicians work together—the patients are able to have the best outcome, comfort, and safety.
Sleep Apnea Treatment
Sleep apnea treatment by a physician may include CPAP—a continuous positive airway pressure machine. A dentist can make a sleep apnea appliance that fits in your mouth. These can be very comfortable and can be used with a CPAP. If the appliance is effective, the pressure on the CPAP can be lowered, which gives even more comfort. With a physicians approval, some patients can wear the appliance and not have to wear the CPAP at all.