Did you know that snoring can be hazardous to your health? Sometimes, snoring is indicative of a more serious condition known as obstructive sleep apnea.
What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
In people with obstructive sleep apnea, the airways actually collapse as they are sleeping, significantly blocking the path of air into the lungs and causing loud snoring. Patients with this disorder actually stop breathing in their sleep – for as long as 20 seconds. When the body realizes it is being deprived of air, it sends the brain into emergency mode and causes the person to gasp for air. This happens over and over, many times throughout the night. The person suffering from sleep apnea usually sleeps through most of these episodes, not realizing the struggle their body goes through each night.
The causes of sleep apnea vary. Patients who are overweight are at higher risk for developing the disorder.
Screening and Treatment
Dr. Smith can diagnose sleep apnea by asking you and your bedmate questions about your sleep habits, and by examining your throat and mouth for enlarged tissues that may be blocking airflow. However, in some instances, he may refer you to a trusted colleague who specializes in sleep disorders to conduct a formal sleep study. If you have sleep apnea, there are two common ways to alleviate it and to put an end to snoring and gasping for air while you sleep.
SomnoMed appliance. This is a custom-fitted appliance that patients wear while they’re sleeping. It improves airflow by positioning the jaw and tongue forward slightly. If you are able to breathe comfortably in your sleep, you no longer will snore and gasp for breath.
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine. In more extreme cases of obstructive sleep apnea, Dr. Smith may advise that a patient be connected to a C-pap machine during sleep to ensure that he or she is taking in sufficient oxygen. Basically, C-pap is an air compressor attached to a mask that the patient wears during sleep. The continuous mild air pressure delivered by the machine keeps the patient’s airways open, alleviating snoring.
Schedule an Appointment with Your Grand Prairie Dentist
Dr. Quinn Smith is a well-respected and highly experienced general, restorative, and family dentist in Grand Prairie, TX. He takes a patient-first approach that starts from the moment patients enter our Pecan Tree Dental office, and he offers a three-year guarantee on all dental work that he performs. Whether you and your family are new or returning patients, you can schedule a consultation or your next appointment with Dr. Smith by contacting us at (972) 262-5111. We proudly welcome patients from Grand Prairie, as well as surrounding areas including Arlington, South Dallas, Cedar Hill, and Duncanville.