Sleep apnea is largely considered one of the most commonly undiagnosed conditions out there today simply because it can be difficult to notice the symptoms. However, that doesn’t mean it isn’t wreaking havoc on your sleep quality as well as your overall health. At MJM Family & Cosmetic Dentistry, we provide personalized plans for sleep apnea therapy in Fairfax, VA that address your sleep apnea at the source so you can take back your restful nights once and for all.
Sleep apnea is a type of sleep disorder that occurs when the airway is blocked during sleep, resulting in lower quality sleep overall. The most common form of sleep apnea is known as obstructive sleep apnea and can develop when the tongue, soft palate, or other oral structure block the throat, making it difficult to breathe properly while sleeping. As a result of the blockage, patients experience choking, which forces them awake and prevents them from getting deep sleep. It currently affects tens of millions of Americans every year and often goes undiagnosed.
One of the most common health problems associated with sleep apnea is poor sleep quality. Not only does this leave you feeling fatigued throughout the day, but it can actually put you at higher risk for systemic health conditions. This includes cardiovascular disease, stroke, and a weakened immune system. It can also lead to memory loss, difficulty concentrating, and even at higher risk for experiencing traffic accidents and workplace injuries.
A common symptom of sleep apnea is abnormally loud snoring. This occurs when tissue blocking the throat vibrates during inhaling and exhaling as a result of restricted airflow. Keep in mind that loud snoring does not guarantee that sleep apnea is present, but it should lead to additional sleep tests to further confirm if it is present. From there, we can determine if any other symptoms are present, such as choking or gasping for air and chronic headaches upon waking up.
You may be wondering how a dentist can help with a condition like sleep apnea. Our dental office has the expertise and technology to design an oral appliance that is worn as you sleep and directly addresses issues related to sleep apnea. Custom-made to fit comfortable in your mouth during sleep, these appliances shift the lower jaw forward in order to make room for air to pass in and out of your mouth. This means fewer interruptions (or apneas) during sleep and improved sleep quality.
How do we make your sleep apnea treatment comprehensive? By partnering with experts to ensure your specific sleep issues are handled properly. After we’ve completed a detailed exam of your mouth and taken the time to hear your current symptoms, we’ll partner you with a physician who is trained to handle sleep apnea disorders effectively. For example, they can complete a test to examine patterns in your sleep cycle. The result is a more comprehensive diagnosis.
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