Do you snore or wake up in the morning still feeling tired and groggy?
Sleep disorders are becoming a growing health concern as we continue to learn more about how they detrimentally affect daily quality of life and increase the risk for cardiovascular and systemic disease, especially among certain populations. As your dentist, Dr. Sal Lotardo has an in depth understanding of the structure and function of the jaw and soft tissues in the back of the throat, both of which affect the development of a sleep disorder.
Sleep disorders can range from the mild to the more complex, with obstructive sleep apnea presenting an overall health risk for stroke, sudden heart attack and difficulty managing existing disease. OSA impacts your sleep and your daily life, leading to a range of symptoms that are often misdiagnosed for many reasons.
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
Recognizing the common signs and symptoms of sleep apnea is important and can lead to proper treatment. Treating sleep apnea early and effectively will improve your overall physical health, quality of life and reduce many associated risks. Common signs include:
- Loud snoring or gasping during sleep
- Frequent waking during the night
- Feeling tired or groggy, even after a “good night’s sleep”
- Difficulty concentrating, sleepiness during the day
- Mood changes and irritability
Dr. Lotardo will meet with you to discuss your concerns, medical history and examine your oral health as part of diagnosing a sleep disorder. He may coordinate with your general physician to conduct a sleep study to determine the type of sleep disorder you may be suffering with and recommend appropriate treatment.
Are You At Risk For OSA?
Although potentially anyone can develop a sleep disorder for a wide range of reasons, there are certain key risk factors associated with OSA:
- Being male
- Over 45
- Being overweight or obese
- A large neck circumference
- Being a smoker
- Being diabetic
Treatment for Sleep Apnea
the CPAP machine is still considered the gold standard for treating sleep apnea and is often the recommendation for severe cases. However, due to the inconvenience and discomfort associated with the CPAP, patient compliance in mild to moderate cases is often minimal. Dr. Lotardo offers oral appliance therapy as an alternative to the CPAP for mild to moderate sleep apnea.
Oral appliance therapy has proven highly effective at reducing the symptoms of OSA and improving overall health with regular use. Similar to a sports mouth guard, your custom fit oral appliance is worn at night to reposition the jaw and prevent the soft tissues at the back of the throat from collapsing and blocking the airway- this is the cause of your snoring and gasping as normal breathing is temporarily blocked.