Sleep Apnea

Loudoun Family and Cosmetic Dentistry

General Dentists & Cosmetic Dentists located in Leesburg, VA

Men and women with obstructive sleep apnea have alternatives to the noisy, bulky CPAP machine. At Loudoun Family and Cosmetic Dentistry in Leesburg, Virginia, Haidy Messih, DDS, offers dental appliances that change the position of your lower jaw and allow for better airflow. If you suffer from sleep apnea or heavy snoring, call the office or request a consultation online today to find out if a dental appliance can help.

Sleep Apnea Q & A

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a serious medical condition characterized by repeated pauses in breathing during sleep. Breathing pauses can last several seconds and happen 30 or more times per hour. The continuous disrupted breathing causes an imbalance between the carbon dioxide and oxygen levels in your bloodstream. Your brain senses the imbalance and wakes you to restart the breathing process.

Obstructive sleep apnea usually happens when the muscles at the back of your throat collapse and close off your airway. You’re at a higher risk of developing sleep apnea if you’re overweight, a smoker, or have high blood pressure, asthma, or diabetes. Men are also at a greater risk of developing sleep apnea when compared to women.

What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?

The brief awakenings associated with sleep apnea can be so short and incomplete that you don’t even notice them. You will see daytime sleepiness and other changes, however. You may also snore loudly or seem to awaken repetitively, as noticed by your sleep partner. Other symptoms include:

  • Morning headaches
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Mood changes
  • Decreased libido
  • Waking with a dry mouth or sore throat

You may sometimes awaken fully with a choking sensation in the morning or the middle of the night. Sleep apnea is associated with several serious heart conditions, as well as erectile dysfunction, diabetes, and other chronic diseases.

How can a dental appliance improve sleep apnea and snoring?

Before recommending a dental appliance for sleep apnea, the doctors refer to a sleep study usually performed by your primary care physician. Dr. Messih considers your exact diagnosis and health; she may advise you to alter your lifestyle to halt activities that aggravate sleep apnea, such as heavy alcohol consumption and smoking.

A dental device that moves your lower jaw into a forward position can be a convenient and more comfortable treatment for sleep apnea compared to a CPAP machine. The device increases the space in your airway, which reduces air velocity and soft tissue vibration.

The reduction in tissue vibration eliminates snoring, and the opening in the airway facilitates adequate airflow so you won’t awaken in the middle of the night due to apnea. Each device is custom-designed to fit your mouth’s shape and size.

If you’re looking for a minimally intrusive, but effective, solution to sleep apnea, call Loudoun Family and Cosmetic Dentistry or request an appointment online today.