Providing Sleep Apnea Relief

If you are affected by constant daytime fatigue, unexplained mood swings, or unexpected weight gain, you may be suffering from obstructive sleep apnea. Dr. Claudia Patch offers a variety of non-surgical obstructive sleep apnea therapies at the Tischler Dental practice serving the greater Hudson Valley, NY, area to alleviate this condition and help you achieve a good night’s sleep.

Defining Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a chronic disorder characterized by shallow or interrupted breathing during sleep. These pauses can last from several seconds to minutes and can occur multiple times during the night – sometimes as much as 30 times an hour. Normal breathing often starts up again with a loud snort or choking sound. This interruption moves a patient from deep to light sleep. 

At Tischler Dental, our team focuses on providing non-surgical solutions to obstructive sleep apnea. For more serious cases requiring surgical intervention, we refer patients to a trusted network of oral surgeons.

illustration of sleep apnea obstruction

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when your airway collapses or becomes blocked during sleep.

Types of Sleep Apnea

There are two types of sleep apnea: obstructive and central. Although the symptoms remain largely the same, the causes and treatments differ.

Obstructive sleep apnea is characterized by a blockage or collapse of the airway that interrupts breathing during sleep. This can be caused by excess tissue or an over-large tongue sliding back during sleep and blocking the airways. The force of the air trying to get through causes exceptionally loud snoring.  Of the two kinds of sleep apnea, obstructive sleep apnea is the more common condition.

Central sleep apnea is the rarer form of sleep apnea. The problem is neural rather than physical. The centers of the brain, which control breathing, fail to send the correct signals to the lungs and associated muscles, leading to interrupted breathing. This condition is often tied to certain medical conditions or medicines, although it may occur in conjunction with obstructive sleep apnea as well. Unlike obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea is not associated with loud snoring. Central sleep apnea is far more complex than obstructive sleep apnea, and requires the attention of a specialist.

Symptoms & Long-term Effects

Symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea can range from physical to emotional manifestations. Some of the side effects include:

  • Snoring
  • Excessive fatigue 
  • Dry mouth and throat
  • Headaches
  • Nightmares
  • Mood swings
  • Inability to focus
  • Poor memory
  • Weight gain
  • Depression

Obstructive sleep apnea often goes undiagnosed as these symptoms are also associated with several other conditions. While the most obvious sign is snoring, most patients are unaware that they do so until a family member or bed partner points it out.

Because a lack of oxygen also affects cognitive ability, patients suffering from sleep apnea are more likely to have driving or work-related accidents.

In the long-term, a decreased intake of oxygen can increase your risk of high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, obesity, and diabetes. Because a lack of oxygen also affects cognitive ability, patients suffering from sleep apnea are much more likely to have driving or work-related accidents.

Treatments

Unfortunately, there is no cure for sleep apnea: it is a lifelong condition that requires long-term care. However, several treatments are available to alleviate its effects. The type of sleep apnea you suffer from and your medical needs will determine the appropriate treatment:

  • Oral devices: These retainer-like devices are worn at night to prevent airway obstructions. Depending on the cause of the issue, they can keep the tongue or any potential physical obstructions in place, as well as shift the jaw forward to open the airway further. Dr. Patch can perform maintenance on these devices to ensure they remain a good fit. 
  • Breathing devices: In some cases, Dr. Patch may recommend a device that maintains airflow throughout the night. Called a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine, the device uses mild air pressure to keep the airways open. Typically, air is pumped in through a mask placed over the nose and mouth. Though effective, several patients find this device uncomfortable and difficult to get used to.
  • Lifestyle changes: Because obstructive sleep apnea is closely tied to obesity, regular exercise and weight loss can make a big difference in alleviating the effects of the condition.  

Reach out Today

The team at Tischler Dental provides top-of-the-line treatment at a state-of-the-art facility to provide patients with a better quality of life through exceptional dental care. If you are experiencing symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea, contact our practice today to schedule an appointment and discuss your treatment options.

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