Best Sleep Apnea Treatment in Alexandria, VA

07/12/17

What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a disorder that occurs when your muscles relax during sleep, which then causes soft tissue to collapse and obstruct the airway. Consequently, patients will experience pauses in their breath during sleep, which reduces oxygen levels. This disruption causes people with sleep apnea to briefly wake up throughout the night, hindering their quality of sleep.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

Oftentimes, sleep apnea goes undiagnosed, because patients don’t realize they are waking themselves up throughout the night. In fact, most patients with sleep apnea don’t notice it, until their bedside partner complains of loud snoring.

Sufferers of sleep apnea often make loud choking or gasping sounds while they are sleeping. Sleep apnea is more common in men, overweight patients, and patients with a narrow airway or misaligned jaw. Post-menopausal women are also at a higher risk of suffering from obstructive sleep apnea.

Some of the primary symptoms of sleep apnea are drowsiness, daytime fatigue, memory loss, and morning headaches. This can lead to an increased risk of workplace accidents, driving accidents, and other dangers. Patients with sleep apnea are also more prone to depression, irritability, dry mouth, and migraine headaches.


Why Treating Obstructive Sleep Apnea is Important

It’s easy for patients to ignore their sleep apnea, especially if they don’t feel directly impacted by the disorder. However, when left untreated, obstructive sleep apnea can become a danger to your health.

Beyond direct symptoms, like drowsiness, OSA can also increase your risk of developing the following health disorders:
 

●      Stroke

●      Heart disease

●      Diabetes

●      Chronic acid reflux

●      Erectile dysfunction

●      High blood pressure
 

Severe, untreated sleep apnea can even increase your risk of death.

 

How is Obstructive Sleep Apnea Diagnosed?

Obstructive sleep apnea is diagnosed by a sleep specialist, who will either recommend an overnight sleep study or a take-home sleep apnea test. Your diagnosis will be determined through breathing patterns from the test. After diagnosing your sleep apnea, your doctor might determine oral appliance therapy as your best treatment option, referring you to see a dentist.


During your visit at Farhan Qureshi, DDS, we will perform a complete evaluation of your jaw, tongue, teeth, and airway to diagnose issues with your bite that might be causing your sleep apnea. In some cases, we might need to take X-rays of your mouth.

How a Dentist Can Treat Your Sleep Apnea

Oral appliance therapy was designed by dentists to treat obstructive sleep apnea and snoring.

At Farhan Qureshi, DDS, we will assess your mouth’s structure for a comfortable and effective sleep apnea treatment using oral appliance therapy. Oral appliance devices are worn in your mouth while you sleep, fitting in your mouth like a mouth guard or orthodontic retainer.

 

Sometimes a custom-made sleep appliance will be recommended to maintain your jaw in a forward position and stop your airway from collapsing.

Why Choose Oral Appliance Therapy Over CPAP Machines?

The most common sleep apnea treatment is the CPAP machine. However, patients often find CPAP machines are cumbersome and unrealistic. CPAP therapy requires you to wear a face mask every night, which is connected to tubing and a machine that continuously runs throughout the night.

 

Patients often complain that CPAP masks are uncomfortable, making them feel claustrophobic and hindering their sleep. It’s also not uncommon for patients to complain about the sound of the CPAP machine, waking up with a dry mouth, and difficulty getting used to the bulky tubing.

 

Benefits of Oral Appliance Therapy

Studies show that oral appliance therapy is a successful treatment for obstructive sleep apnea and snoring².

 

Oral appliances are non-invasive, discreet, and won’t interfere with your lifestyle. Oftentimes, patients prefer oral appliance therapy to other sleep apnea treatments, because of the following benefits:
 

●     Quiet

●     Comfortable for a better night’s rest

●     Easy to travel

●     Easy to clean and maintain

●     Discreet and compact

 

Choosing a Dentist for Sleep Apnea Treatment

Oral appliance therapy should only be administered by an experienced and qualified dentist. Dr. Qureshi in Alexandria, VA is skilled in treating sleep apnea with oral appliance therapy.

 

As an active member of the Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine, Dr. Qureshi stays up-to-date on all of the most effective and comfortable sleep apnea treatments, so you can stay rested and feel healthy!

 

After fitting you for an oral appliance, Dr. Qureshi will recommend scheduling routine visits to ensure that your appliance continues to fit and treat your sleep apnea successfully. Learn more about sleep apnea treatments at Farhan Qureshi, DDS, call 703-457-9200 today.

¹ http://www.aadsm.org/sleepapnea.aspx

² http://www.aadsm.org/oralappliances.aspx