Are you told you snore throughout the night or wake up constantly feeling exhausted? You may be suffering from a condition known as sleep apnea. At Serrano Orthodontics, our team is fully equipped to help you manage this condition and provide a more leisurely night’s sleep. Dr. Paul and Dr. Andrew specialize in obstructive sleep apnea testing and treatment and are dedicated to helping patients. Read on to learn more about how we can diagnose you, how orthodontics can help with sleep apnea, and why you should seek treatment.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly starts and stops. More than 18 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea, with over 90% going undiagnosed. No matter how old you are, it can influence various aspects of your life and even reduce your lifespan by 7-15 years when left untreated. This condition causes fragmented sleep, shorter life span, and decreased quality of life.
How Your Body Responds
Air travels through your mouth, down your throat, and into your lungs. Your airway muscles are tight when you are awake, keeping it open and allowing you to breathe normally. However, these same muscles relax when you sleep, narrowing the airway. As air passes through, the surrounding tissue vibrates, prompting your body to snore.
If your tongue continues pushing back toward the airway, it can cause your breathing to drastically slow down and even stop completely, a condition otherwise known as obstructive sleep apnea. You may have no idea this is going on and will think you’ve been sleeping the whole night.
Sleep apnea causes your body stress throughout the night, and you wake up tired as if you didn’t get any sleep. As mentioned, the most well-known sign of this condition is snoring, but there are many other symptoms you can connect to it.
This includes but is not limited to night sweats, fatigue in the morning, falling asleep during the day, loss of interest in sex, morning headaches, and even breathlessness after a sudden jolt awake. There are also many severe health conditions attributed to sleep apnea, such as an increased risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.
How We Diagnose the Issue
Home Sleep Test
Getting diagnosed is your first step in providing relief for your body. Home sleep testing is available through Serrano Orthodontics to help offer definitive answers on if you are obstructing. This simple evaluation allows you to test yourself in the comfort of your own home. It is placed over your head with a clear breathing tube below your nose. It will pick up how you sleep and collect information.
After wearing it during a night’s sleep, you can drop it off at our office, and we will download the data taken. It then gets sent to a pulmonologist and respiratory therapist, who will analyze the findings and provide you with results.
Cone Beam CT Scan
With the help of the cone beam CT scan, Drs. Paul and Andrew Serrano can capture a comprehensive view of your upper airway. This advanced technology uses minimal radiation to assess the area and note essential findings, including anatomical details, signs of obstruction, and overall health. This information will allow us to create a customized treatment plan and determine the next steps in protecting your health.
The Role of Orthodontic Treatment
The continuous positive air pressure (CPAP) machine is a reliable therapeutic device that has been used for many years to help millions of people find relief from severe sleep apnea. It comes as a face mask fitted in or on your nose.
A motor constantly blows out air, inhaled through your nose and down into the throat during the night. As suggested by the machine’s name, it provides constant air pressure to keep your airway open and remain unobstructed. If you can tolerate it well, expect it to work wonders!
Not everyone takes to the CPAP machine, and that is okay. We alternatively offer easy-to-wear oral appliances to help fix mild and moderate sleep apnea conditions. It suits many of our patients’ lifestyles better and only takes a couple of weeks to adjust to wearing it at night.
Our team will take an impression of your teeth, and Dr. Paul or Dr. Andrew will note where the jaw should bite down, giving us all the information we need to construct a device for you to wear. This appliance brings your jaw open forward and holds it in place. This way, when you go to sleep, your airway remains open and doesn’t collapse back.
Once you’ve started wearing your CPAP machine or oral appliance each night and have experienced the difference it makes in your life, you won’t want to live without it!
Why Seek Out Treatment
Treating your sleep apnea can improve your life and allow you to go an entire day without trouble falling asleep at work or school.
Improve Your Quality of Life
Waking up energized after a whole night’s sleep can completely change your life. If you snore at night and suspect you suffer from sleep apnea, our team encourages you to get tested and seek treatment. We believe you hold the key to unlocking your full potential and holding more energy than you may think to carry you through the day.
Enjoy An Easier Time Sleeping
So long as sleep apnea goes untreated, your body cannot complete its natural sleep cycles when you wake up multiple times each hour, sometimes up to 60 times. Thus, you are not getting your essential REM sleep, which boosts your memory and learning abilities, or reconstructive sleep, known for supporting brain performance and immune function.
Take On Your Sleep Apnea Today!
Dr. Paul, Dr. Andrew, and our team are passionate about helping you with your sleep apnea troubles and sleeping restfully at night! We serve Phoenix, Chandler, and the surrounding communities with top-notch orthodontic services you can rely on. If you have questions, contact our offices today to schedule your free consultation and learn more about your dental health!