Sleep Apnea

sleep apnea

Erie, Harborcreek and Millcreek, PA

Are you a snorer? Do you feel fatigued throughout the day on a regular basis? If so you may suffer from sleep apnea, a potentially serious sleep breathing disorder that can lead to major health problems.

Sleep apnea and its symptoms

Sleep apnea occurs when the airway becomes obstructed while you sleep, as the muscles in the throat become relaxed. These obstructions cut off the air supply to the body, disrupting the natural cycle of sleep. A total blockage of the airway can rouse you from sleep because your body and brain react as if you are choking, which causes snoring or loud gasping sounds.

Because these blockages may occur 30 or more times per hour in a sleep apnea patient, this disorder is a huge impediment to receiving proper rest.

In addition to snoring and fatigue, sleep apnea has the following symptoms: 

  • Trouble concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Impotence
  • Restless sleep
  • Teeth grinding during sleep

Many children with sleep apnea experience symptoms similar to those of ADHD, which leads to frequent misdiagnoses of the cause of their behavior. In fact, a sleep apnea dentist is the best qualified medical professional to identify and treat sleep apnea. 

The health consequences of untreated sleep apnea

Without proper diagnoses and treatment, sleep apnea can greatly increase your likelihood of developing other serious ailments, including the following:

  • Obesity
  • Cognitive decline
  • High blood pressure
  • Depression
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes

Diagnosing and treating sleep apnea

At Laser Dentistry of Erie, we can determine if a patient has sleep apnea by performing an airway evaluation. This is a non-invasive and simple procedure. Another helpful diagnostic tool is a sleep study, although this can be less viable for certain categories of patients such as children.

You may know someone who has sleep apnea and uses a CPAP breathing machine as a result. At Laser Dentistry of Erie, we prefer oral appliance therapy to manage a sleep breathing disorder. Not only are these devices less cumbersome, but they also have a higher success rate than a CPAP machine in alleviating sleep apnea by repositioning the lower jaw in a way to facilitate an open airway.

Although many anti-snoring mouthpieces are available over the counter, our oral appliances are custom made to guarantee an ideal fit and maximum comfort while maintaining an open airway throughout your sleep. Many sleep apnea appliances are also adjustable.

If you suffer from sleep apnea, the problem will not go away on its own. Relief only comes from seeing a medical professional trained to treat the disorder, like a sleep apnea dentist. If you or a member of your family is displaying some of the symptoms listed above, call our office at (814) 825-2615, to schedule a consultation.

Laser Dentistry of Erie serves Erie, PA and the surrounding areas.