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Sleep Apnea Treatment
While many of us snore during sleep, consistent snoring should be evaluated to determine if you are suffering from a potentially dangerous sleep disorder known as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). In addition to affecting the quality of your sleep each night, OSA also affects your overall health and puts you at an increased risk for both cardiovascular and systemic-related diseases. Fortunately, our experienced Alexandria dentist—Dr. Mojgan Mazhari—has received training in the treatment of sleep apnea.
Alexandria Dental Health & Smile Studio offers treatment for sleep disorders, including sleep apnea. Restoring a good night’s sleep with advanced treatments, such as MicrO2® oral appliance therapy, can also improve your overall health and well-being. Patients with sleep apnea are more likely to experience a wide range of health conditions as a result of the lack of oxygen flow. MicrO2 oral sleep appliances open the airway, allowing patients to get a healthy and restful night’s sleep.
In the sections below you will find more information about sleep apnea and available treatments. If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us today!
- What is Sleep Apnea?
- Sleep Apnea Symptoms
- Sleep Apnea Risks
- Sleep Apnea Causes
- Sleep Apnea Treatment
- Why Choose Us?
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea refers to a condition that causes patients to stop breathing while sleeping. The most common form of sleep apnea, known as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), is caused by a blockage of the air passageways during sleep. This typically occurs when excess tissue at the back of the throat or the tongue falls across and obstructs the airway. The sudden lack of oxygen will typically cause the patient to wake up, gasping for air. Usually, patients fall back to sleep so quickly that they do not remember being awakened during the night, though these incidents can happen hundreds of times.
If you believe that you are suffering from sleep apnea, Dr. Mazhari is happy to consult with you. She can evaluate your bite and discuss your symptoms, at which point she may refer you to a medical doctor and recommend undergoing a sleep study so that you can receive a formal sleep apnea diagnosis. Following your OSA diagnosis, you can return to Dr. Mazhari for treatment.
There is also a much less common form of sleep apnea, known as central sleep apnea (CSA). Whereas OSA is typically the result of physical factors, CSA often has a neurological component. Patients experiencing CSA require treatment from a medical doctor following a formal diagnosis.
Common Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
Understanding the impact of sleep apnea on your overall health and recognizing the common symptoms is important when seeking treatment. There are numerous symptoms of sleep apnea, or OSA, and it’s important to remember that not everyone will experience the same symptoms. The following are some of the most common symptoms of sleep apnea:
Snoring is a sign that your airway is obstructed, meaning you’re not getting the proper oxygen you need throughout the night.
If you feel tired and groggy during the day, you may not be getting the rest you need at night. When sleep apnea is present, the body will wake itself up many times during the night when breathing is totally obstructed. You may not remember these instances—but your body does. You’ll feel the effects of constant interruptions during sleep in the form of fatigue.
Some patients will experience headaches in the morning if they have sleep apnea. These headaches are usually the result of decreased oxygen to the brain, which can cause you to experience a headache that ranges from mild to severe.
Mental Health Symptoms
Research has shown a link between mental illness and sleep disorders: people who suffer from sleep disorders, and related sleep disruption, are more likely to develop anxiety, depression, mood swings, and cognitive impairment. Poor and frequently interrupted sleep can also lead to certain hormonal and chemical imbalances in the brain and body.
People who snore tend to breathe through their mouths at night, making their mouth extremely dry the next day. Dry mouth isn’t just uncomfortable—it’s also damaging to your oral health. Having a dry mouth upsets the balance of bacteria in your oral cavity, making it more likely that your enamel will be worn away.
If you or a loved one is experiencing one or more of these symptoms, we encourage you to reach out to a medical professional. Dr. Mazrahi has received specialized training that allows her to better treat obstructive sleep apnea.
What Happens If Sleep Apnea Goes Untreated?
Ignoring your symptoms of sleep apnea is never a good idea, as the disorder can be life-threatening when left untreated. In addition to causing chronic fatigue and the resulting symptoms, sleep apnea also puts you at risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke, all due to decreased oxygen levels in the blood. Obstructive sleep apnea also increases the risk of sudden cardiac death. Additionally, OSA can lead to an irregular heartbeat and put patients at a higher risk for complications after medical procedures. People who have sleep apnea tend to lose concentration easily and may be more prone to accidents due to their fatigue.
What Causes Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea has become a growing epidemic among adults today, with new patients being diagnosed at an increasing rate each year. While there is no one specific cause of obstructive sleep apnea, there are factors that can put patients at a higher risk of developing the disorder. These include:
- Being overweight or obese
- Being a smoker
- Having high blood pressure
- Having a large neck circumference
- Chronic nasal congestion
Sleep apnea is also more prevalent among males, especially over the age of 50. If you are not sure if you have sleep apnea, take this quiz to see if you should schedule a consultation with Dr. Mazhari.
How Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea Treated?
Dr. Mazhari is proud to offer MicrO2 Sleep and Snore oral appliances from Prosomnus. MicroO2 oral sleep appliance therapy can be an effective treatment for mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea as the appliances open the airway, allowing patients to get a healthy and restful night’s sleep. MicrO2 custom-made oral appliances fit much like a sports mouth guard, and can provide a more convenient and comfortable alternative to the traditional CPAP machine. Patients can speak clearly and consume liquids while wearing their MicrO2 appliance.
Dr. Mazhari chooses to use MicrO2 oral sleep appliances for their effective and quality results. In just seven days, your custom-designed appliance will be ready to help you protect your oral and systemic health. MicrO2 uses a unique, metal-free material for optimal comfort.
Oral appliance therapy helps patients enjoy a much greater compliance rate when compared to the traditional CPAP machine, an important factor in the effectiveness of your treatment. Small, convenient, and somewhat discreet, your oral appliance is easy to take along when traveling and will resolve common symptoms—such as snoring—by repositioning the jaw for normal breathing.
Dr. Mazhari may also recommend the use of TENS, or transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, to relax your muscles and enable proper bite alignment. In many cases, tension in the jaw as a result of either symptoms or treatment lead to an uncomfortable bite and headaches. This therapy to relax the jaw muscles can allow the bite to rest in its natural position and alleviate pressure on the joints, cranial nerves, and surrounding tissue.
Why Choose Alexandria Dental Health & Smile Studio?
As a dentist, Dr. Mazhari has an in-depth understanding of the structure and function of the mouth and jaw. She can effectively evaluate how your bite, neck position, and overall health is affecting your breathing and potentially increasing the possibility of a sleep-related disorder.
A graduate of the Las Vegas Institute, Dr. Mazhari has remained committed to advancing both her knowledge and treatment offerings through continued education in all aspects of dental care. This includes the diagnosis and treatment of complex dental concerns and related problems, such as sleep apnea. Dr. Mazhari will take the time to discuss your medical history, lifestyle habits, and other factors that affect your oral health in order to provide a personalized plan of care that can address your symptoms and improve your overall health.
If you are experiencing any of the common symptoms of sleep apnea or are concerned that you are at risk for developing a sleep-related disorder, schedule a visit with Dr. Mazhari. Contact us at (703) 212-9622 or request an appointment online.