Do I Have Sleep Apnea?
If you feel as though you have no energy and are too tired to keep up with your friends and family, you should visit our dental office to talk about sleep apnea. This may be what is causing your issues, and a simple non-invasive treatment may be just what you need to feel like yourself again. To schedule an appointment with our dental office, call E. M. Makhoul, D.D.S. | Family Dentistry & Orthodontics Phone Number (949) 364-3724. We will be happy to discuss your treatment and then make a recommendation for how you should proceed.
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a condition that makes it difficult for your body to receive the oxygen you need to properly function. Without enough oxygen, you will feel drained and sluggish, but since the condition manifests itself at night, most people have no idea that they have it.
How does sleep apnea impact a person’s health?
There are many health problems that can arise from untreated sleep apnea. They can include a stroke, high blood pressure, headaches, diabetes, depression, mood swings, heart failure, ADHD that becomes worse, and an overall lack of wellbeing.
How does sleep apnea negatively impact a person’s life?
With enough oxygen, your body will have a difficult time functioning. Beyond the health effects, this can translate to not having enough energy to stay awake past dinner, enjoy your kid’s birthday parties, go for a bike ride, or even drive your car. In fact, when you are tired, the basic and often mundane activities of life can put you to sleep. This can make it dangerous to get behind the wheel and could compromise your work performance. Essentially, your quality of life can be greatly diminished, making it critical that you visit a Mission Viejo dentist to have your sleep apnea treated.
What is the difference between sleep apnea and a sleep disorder?
Sleep apnea is a physical condition that makes it impossible to breathe clearly while you are sleeping. As a result, your body will not get enough oxygen to function at an optimal level. A sleep disorder can be one of the following:
- Insomnia. When it comes to sleep disorders, insomnia can be long-term or temporary. Often brought on by external factors like stress, insomnia can be treated with an oral medication.
- Narcolepsy. As a sleep disorder, narcolepsy is by far the worst. It can impact you throughout your entire life, making you feel so exhausted that you are forced to suddenly fall asleep, regardless of where you are or what you are doing. Narcolepsy is a true life disrupter.
- Restless leg syndrome. Commonly impacting pregnant women, restless leg syndrome can force your legs to move all throughout the night. Giving you a feeling of constant tingles or a burning and itching sensation, RLS can be highly distracting and impact anyone at any time. It helps to go for a walk or exercise during the day, since those who are sedentary tend to experience RLS more frequently.
- Jet lag. While most people view jet lag as a part of long-distance travel, it is a real sleep disorder, and if your body does not adjust well to the changes in time zones, jet lag could impact you for days or even weeks if you continue to travel from place to place. This disruption in your sleep patterns can make it difficult to get caught up on the rest you need, and may leave you feeling worn down to the point of potentially getting sick. Fortunately, this condition will eventually rectify itself when you get back home and stop traveling.
- Snoring. If you snore too loudly, you could wake up your Mission Viejo neighbors, your spouse, or just yourself. Many people cannot get a good night’s sleep because they snore too loudly, and this condition is often brought on by sleep apnea.
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What are the two main types of sleep apnea?
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). When you have obstructive sleep apnea, your lower jawbone muscles will be too weak to hold your jaw in place as you sleep. As a result, it can fall backward and your tongue with it. Your tongue will then block your airway, making it impossible to breathe clearly while sleeping. This is why people with OSA will typically snore or sound like they are choking in their sleep. This is one of the signs that the body is trying to move the tongue in order to breathe. Another cause of OSA is having too much fatty tissue in the back of your throat. This is one reason obesity is a risk factor for OSA.
- Central Sleep Apnea. In this condition, the brain is responsible for the sleep apnea. By not sending signals to the muscles in charge of breathing, your body fails to respond as it should. This is not something that can be treated by a dentist, but instead, you will need to see a specialist.
How is sleep apnea treated?
At E.M. Makhoul, DDS /Family Dentistry & Orthodontics, we recommend that patients explore all non-invasive treatment options first. This is why we will often suggest that our Mission Viejo, CA patients wear a removable oral appliance. An oral appliance is a convenient treatment option because it does not make any noise and is incredibly discrete. Some patients also require the use of a CPAP machine to provide them with additional oxygen. The challenge with a CPAP is that it can be loud and uncomfortable to wear. The third treatment option for OSA is to have surgery to remove the extra fatty tissue blocking your airway.
How does an oral appliance work?
Wearing an oral appliance is incredibly easy. It is customized for your mouth specifically so it fits snugly and securely. As a result, you can simply slip it into place when you go to sleep. It remains in place inside of your mouth and does an excellent job of holding your lower jaw in the forward position. This prevents your tongue from falling backward and keeps your airway clear. Some people receive all of the benefit they need by wearing an oral appliance, while those with severe sleep apnea may also require the use of a CPAP machine at the same time. In this case, most patients report that their CPAP is far more comfortable than when they were using it as a standalone treatment option.
Sleep Apnea Defined
Sleep apnea is a common disorder that affects millions of men, women, and children but is often undiagnosed, despite the potentially serious consequences of the disorder such as heart disease, obesity, and clinical depression. At Makhoul Dentistry in Mission Viejo, Dr. E. M. Makhoul has helped many patients overcome sleep apnea and finally get a good night’s rest.
With obstructive sleep apnea, the most common type that we see in patients, your airway is blocked by the relaxation of soft tissues in the back of the throat while you sleep causing you to stop breathing for 10 to 20 seconds. This disrupts your sleep, sometimes hundreds of times in a single night, which prevents your body from getting the deep restorative sleep that it needs.
Warning Signs for Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea often goes undiagnosed and untreated because people simply do not realize they have it. Because it happens at night during sleep, it is difficult to self-diagnose. Warning signs to look for include:
- Excessive snoring
- Waking up choking or gasping in the middle of the night
- Waking up during the night feeling short of breath
- Daytime exhaustion and fatigue
- Sore throat or dry mouth in the mornings
- Loss of mental focus and forgetfulness
- Moodiness and irritability
Chronic snoring every night is often noticed by a partner and often dismissed as a quirk. However, it is a great indicator of a bigger problem. If your partner notices habitual snoring, you may be suffering from sleep apnea. If you sleep alone, you can record yourself sleeping to see if you snore.
It is estimated that at least 10 million Americans have unrecognized sleep apnea. If you believe your snoring or these other warning factors might indicate a more serious problem, speak to experienced dentist Dr. E. M. Makhoul in Mission Viejo today by calling E. M. Makhoul, D.D.S. | Family Dentistry & Orthodontics Phone Number (949) 364-3724.
“I have been a patient of Dr. Makhoul since 1983. He is legendary for providing the most gentle dental care, but beyond that, he is a perfectionist and his work is flawless. Dr. Makhoul studies and masters each new technique and will settle for nothing less than the best for his patients.”
– Debbie K., San Clemente
Complications of Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea not only affects your sleep quality, it can also affect many other areas of your life. Complications and risks caused by sleep apnea may include:
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Difficulty concentrating
- Increased risk of car accidents
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Chest pain in bed
- Risk of stroke
Treatment for Sleep Apnea
At Makhoul Dentistry, we use advanced dental technology to treat sleep apnea very successfully and in a very comfortable and inexpensive way. Many of our patients who felt frustrated after seeing other health providers and after trying different treatment modalities (or were told that they needed surgery) found Dr Makhoul’s treatment to be much more acceptable and a lot easier on the pocketbook.
How Dentistry Can Help
By now you’re probably wondering: What does Dr Makhoul have to do with all this? Here’s the connection: Snoring or sleep apnea can sometimes be treated with an oral appliance available at the dental office that’s designed to hold the lower jaw forward during sleep. This repositioning of the jaw moves the tongue away from the back of the throat, reducing the potential for obstruction. This treatment is backed by a great deal of scientific evidence; it’s a good remedy to try before moving on to more complicated breathing devices or surgery to remove excess tissues in the throat.
Only a dentist can fabricate, fit, adjust, monitor, and treat complications associated with Oral Appliance Therapy used in managing Sleep-Related Breathing Disorder (SRBD). So if you or a loved one is experiencing any combination of the signs and symptoms mentioned above, please call E. M. Makhoul, D.D.S. | Family Dentistry & Orthodontics Phone Number (949) 364-3724 for a personal evaluation with Dr. Makhoul.