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Sleep Apnea and Snoring Treatment

While you sleep, a number of issues may be preventing you from obtaining a full night’s rest – but even more importantly, they could be causing serious risks to your health. Snoring, gasping, breathing pauses, morning headaches, and fatigue could be signs that you suffer from sleep apnea. The dentists at Aesthetic Smiles of New Jersey offer effective solutions for sleep apnea that can reduce snoring and decrease life-threatening health risks. Our practice can also perform sleep studies in your own home, as opposed to a hospital setting or sleep center, that can help us understand the nature of your condition and prescribe effective treatment. Many insurance companies offer coverage for at-home sleep studies, as well as oral appliances to treat sleep apnea once you have completed a sleep study and have been medically diagnosed.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a condition that causes muscles and soft tissues in the mouth, throat, and/or nasal passages to relax during sleep and reduce the amount of air that can travel through the airway. Snoring is often the most noticeable symptom of this; however, snoring and other symptoms – such as pauses while breathing of up to 10 seconds – may go completely unnoticed unless someone makes you aware of them. There are treatment options available, and because of the serious risks to your overall health caused by sleep apnea, it is important to have these conditions addressed as soon as possible

Sleep Apnea Health Risks

Sleep apnea, snoring, and pauses in breathing can cause a range of severe risks to your health, including:

  • Sudden cardiac death
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Depression
  • Gastric reflux
  • Loss of memory
  • Insomnia
  • Sexual dysfunction

Drs. Ed Romano and Matthew Vaccaro can evaluate sleep apnea conditions and help you obtain a safer, healthier night’s sleep.

Sleep Apnea Treatment Options

Recent advances in sleep apnea treatment have paved the way for more comfortable and effective treatment options. Our practice will typically begin the treatment process with an at-home sleep study to monitor your condition. Aesthetic Smiles of New Jersey works with a group of sleep physicians called ISleep, who offer at-home sleep studies so that patients do not have to go to a sleep center. Insurance often covers these at-home studies. Once you have been medically diagnosed with sleep apnea after a sleep study has been performed, we can then begin treatment with an oral appliance. With the diagnosis and sleep study, insurance will typically cover the oral appliance as well. Oral dental appliances for sleep apnea can resemble orthodontic retainers or mouthguards and are typically designed to keep your airways open and allow a more positive level of air to flow through. This can ultimately reduce snoring and other symptoms associated with sleep apnea. While C-PAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) devices are often used to treat sleep apnea, we offer a number of oral appliance options and will recommend the C-PAP only when necessary. We can also provide an Oral Sleep Apnea appliance for patients who cannot tolerate a C-PAP device.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How do I know whether I have sleep apnea?

Snoring, pauses in breathing and/or sudden gasps for air during sleep, restlessness, or frequent trips to the bathroom are indicative of sleep apnea. Additionally, if you are experiencing daytime symptoms such as headaches, trouble concentrating, constant fatigue, or depression in accordance with nighttime symptoms, you may want to consider a consultation with Drs. Romano or Vaccaro. These signs are frequently associated with sleep apnea; however, it is important to note that individuals with sleep apnea patient often experience different symptoms.

What causes sleep apnea?

Two of the major types of sleep apnea that can trigger airways to close are known as obstructive or central sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) occurs when soft tissues within the throat or nasal passages become too relaxed and block airflow during your sleep cycle. This is the most common type of sleep apnea and can prevent oxygen from reaching your brain, causing you to choke or gasp for air as you are awakened by the lack of oxygen.

In cases of central sleep apnea (CSA), the brain can fail to send the right signals to muscles that control breathing, resulting in an interrupted breathing pattern as much as 120 times per night in the most severe cases. This often results in fatigue throughout the day, as well as mood swings and other symptoms. Sleep apnea can cause serious risks to your health, but with proper treatment, you can effectively restore normal air flow and achieve a healthy night’s sleep.

How can obesity lead to an increased risk of sleep apnea?

Obese individuals typically have a larger surface area around the neck, an enlarged tongue and tonsils, and an increased amount of fat in the throat. These factors combined can exert too much pressure on the airways and increase the risk that they will become blocked during sleep.

What is pediatric sleep apnea?

Children diagnosed with sleep apnea are considered to have pediatric sleep apnea. The associated symptoms in children can include restless sleep, bedwetting, sleepwalking, and snoring. Sleep apnea is more likely in children with an under- or over-developed jaw. Many cases of pediatric sleep apnea can be treated with the same options as adults, such as an oral appliance or C-PAP machine; however, it is best to first schedule an evaluation with a sleep professional if your child shows signs of sleep apnea.

What can I do to have a more restful night’s sleep?

While not a substitute for sleep apnea treatment, practicing good “sleep hygiene” habits can improve your sleeping and breathing patterns. Habits such as drinking alcohol or taking sleep medication before bed can overly relax throat muscles and ultimately block air flow. Tips to sleep more soundly at night can include:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Avoiding excessive drinking
  • Avoiding sedative sleep medication
  • Exercising
  • Not using electronic devices prior to sleep
  • Sleeping with the television turned off

What if I think someone I love has sleep apnea?

Many patients who have sleep apnea don’t realize it until the condition is brought to their attention by a partner or loved one. If you suspect your loved one may have sleep apnea due to periodic interruptions in their breathing during sleep, Drs. Romano or Vaccaro would be happy to speak with you about the at-home sleep study process and how this could benefit you.

Contact Aesthetic Smiles of New Jersey

Our dentist will be happy to meet with you and discuss your options for treatment. If you believe you may suffer from sleep apnea, please contact Aesthetic Smiles of New Jersey today.

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