Sleep Apnea Ardmore PA

Do you or a loved one snore? In some cases, snoring can be a sign of sleep apnea. Visit the office of Dr. Bellisario to discuss your sleep apnea treatment options in our Ardmore, PA dental office. Dr. Jeffrey Bellisario can provide general dental care to stop snoring and sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea is a serious condition that can lead to further health problems. Snoring is a common symptom of sleep apnea caused by blocked airflow from the nose to the trachea. During sleep apnea, the tissues in the back of the throat collapse. A partial airway collapse causes snoring, but a complete blockage causes short periods of non-breathing.

Patients with sleep apnea may experience shallow breathing or seconds of non-breathing. Over time, this can contribute to serious health problems. Sleep apnea obstructs the flow of oxygen to the lungs and heart. Many patients with sleep apnea may have a heightened risk of cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, and stroke.

Sleep Apnea in Ardmore, Pennsylvania

Signs and Symptoms

The most common indicator of sleep apnea is chronic snoring. Sleep apnea snoring is very loud and disruptive, often impacting partners sleeping in bed with you or even roommates or children in separate rooms. The snoring starts and progressively gets worse until it’s enough to partially wake you. While you may not notice it, others hear gasping and choking sounds, as your body isn’t getting enough air.

Another prominent sign is feeling tired in the morning, even when you thought you slept well. Since you may not register it, you may not realize you wake up multiple times throughout the night. Sleep apnea can prevent you from accessing the deep sleep stages necessary for resting properly and feeling refreshed. Sleep deprivation can make you fall asleep at dangerous times, like driving, at work, or at school.

Other indicators include dry mouth, sore throat, and morning headaches. Snoring occurs when one sleeps with one’s mouth open. These gasping, heavy breaths dry out your mouth and leave you with a sore throat. Morning headaches are caused by the brain not getting enough oxygen overnight.

Risk Factors

Certain people are more likely to develop sleep apnea than others. One of the main risk factors is obesity. If you have excess weight around your neck and throat, it increases the chances of your airway becoming restricted overnight. The tissue is also thicker and fattier when obese compared to a normal weight.

The older you are, the more likely you are to have sleep apnea. As we age, the muscles and tissue weaken, making it easier for them to collapse into the back of your throat. Men are more likely to have sleep apnea than women. The difference in muscle tone and fat distribution may play a part. Men are more likely to have excess tissue in the throat and neck areas, making it more likely for sleep apnea.

Your alcohol and tobacco consumption impacts sleep apnea likelihood. Smoking irritates your airways due to the chemicals being inhaled. It causes inflammation, making it harder to breathe when you’re sleeping. Alcohol relaxes your muscles, making it more likely for the tissue in the back of your throat to collapse.

The Dangers of Untreated Sleep Apnea

Many people don’t realize how dangerous sleep apnea is if it goes untreated. It’s a lot more than just snoring — it has impacts throughout the body.

First, it impacts your immediate quality of life because you’re more tired and irritable. You’re likelier to fall asleep at the wheel or other inconvenient places. You’re also unable to concentrate, aren’t as good at making decisions, and can have trouble doing simple tasks. In the long run, it can cause issues with your relationships and even get you fired.

As for your mood, you have an increased likelihood of suffering from depression and anxiety. Sleep deprivation can make you have dangerous mood swings and feelings of hopelessness. If you already have existing mental health conditions, sleep apnea aggravates them and makes them worse.

Sleep apnea increases your risk of many physical health conditions. One of the main interactions is it causes problems with the cardiovascular system. When you aren’t getting enough air overnight, your blood oxygen levels decrease. This strains your heart, making you more likely to experience high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, and irregular heartbeats. Patients with untreated sleep apnea are significantly more likely to have these issues than those without sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea also correlates with diabetes and obesity. The condition impacts how your body processes glucose and contributes to insulin resistance. Consistent sleep patterns impact how your body gains and loses weight. If you aren’t getting enough sleep, you’re more likely to gain weight and have trouble losing it.

How to Treat Snoring and Sleep Apnea

For patients with severe cases of sleep apnea, we will recommend a CPAP. CPAP stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure.  A CPAP machine provides constant airflow to patients through a mask placed over the face. However, this can be uncomfortable and loud, making it difficult for patients to sleep.

An alternative is the Snore Guard® for mild to moderate cases of sleep apnea. This small intraoral device prevents the jaw and tongue from dropping back into the throat. It keeps the airway open and reduces snoring. We use dental impressions to make the Snore Guard. Like a mouthguard or nightguard, the appliance fits over the top teeth.

A similar treatment to the Snore Guard is the Tap® 3 Elite. We recommend this FDA-approved device for patients who have severe sleep apnea. The Tap 3 Elite comprises upper and lower tooth trays attached by a hook and a lingual bar. This device holds the mandible forward to prevent tissue collapse in the back of the mouth. We customize the Tap appliance to fit each patient’s smile and ensure it feels comfortable when worn at night.

Contact Our Dental Office

Get a restful night’s sleep. Call Dr. Bellisario today at (610) 839-8967. You may also request a dental appointment online. If you have any further questions or concerns about your treatment, please let us know, and we will be happy to assist you.