Sleep apnea is a type of sleep breathing disorder and is a serious medical condition that can impact your overall health and quality of life. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is caused by blockages in your airway while asleep. These blockages occur most commonly as a result of the soft tissues of the airway collapsing or the tongue rolling back in the mouth. OSA is characterized by frequent pauses and interruptions in breathing, and those who suffer from this condition may even stop breathing entirely for 10 seconds or more at a time. When untreated, sleep apnea can contribute to a number of other medical conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure and liver problems, as well as impaired concentration and behavioral disorders.
Some common signs of sleep apnea include:
- Choking or gasping sensations while asleep
- Hypersomnia (excessive daytime drowsiness)
- Pauses and interruptions in breathing
- Shortness of breath upon waking
- Headaches in the morning upon waking
- Dry mouth or sore throat upon waking
- Poor, fitful or restless sleep
- Depression, irritability or moodiness
- Insomnia (difficulty sleeping at night)
When you visit Lockwood Family Dental, our dentist will discuss your condition with you and review your options for managing sleep apnea. There are several types of treatments available, and we will work with you to find a solution that fits your lifestyle and will help you improve your health and quality of life. Those with mild to moderate OSA may benefit from oral appliance therapy. This type of treatment uses a customized mouthpiece to help keep your airways open while you sleep. If you have a more severe case of OSA, our dentist may recommend surgical treatment.
If you have any questions about sleep apnea treatment in Billings and Lockwood, Montana, or if you want to make an appointment with Dr. Brysen Hansen, call us today at 406-702-1438.