Sleep Apnea Treatment Can Improve Your Quality of Sleep

Dr. Abbey J. Lee can provide sleep apnea treatment with oral appliance therapy for patients battling minor to moderate cases of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) at our Atlanta, GA dental practice. Sleep apnea is a serious condition that causes the soft tissues in the back of the throat to block clear air passageways. When this occurs, it can lead to loud snoring, restless sleep, and cessations of breathing. Most people are unaware they have this disorder until a loved one recognizes their partner gasping for air in the middle of the night. Treating sleep apnea in its earliest stages can improve sleep, increase energy levels, and protect your overall oral and physical health.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
According to the National Sleep Foundation, sleep apnea affects over 20 million people in the United States. This sleep disorder is classified into three different categories: obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), central sleep apnea (CSA), and a combination of the two.

At Smiles 4 Grant Park, we offer oral appliance therapy treatment for patients diagnosed with OSA. During OSA, the soft tissues in the back of the throat collapse, blocking the airway and limiting oxygen intake. People with sleep apnea generally experience loud snoring combined with multiple pauses in breathing throughout the night. These sleep interruptions can last anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes up to a hundred times a night.
What Causes Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea can affect anyone at any age, but you have a greater risk of developing OSA if have certain physical features, such as a narrow throat, short and large neck, large tonsils, and deviated septum. Other risk factors include:

  • Stress
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Alcohol overuse
  • Pregnancy
  • Menopause
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Age (typically diagnosed in patients over 40)
Signs and Symptoms to Be Aware Of
Because sleep apnea can go unaddressed for long periods of time and often be misdiagnosed, it’s important to be aware of the below side effects:

  • Loud snoring combined with restless sleep
  • Teeth grinding and jaw clenching (bruxism)
  • Waking up feeling tired
  • Headaches or migraines, especially when waking
  • Damaged molars
  • Chronic dry mouth and sore throat
  • Unexplained anxiety, depression, or moodiness
  • Weight gain
  • Trouble focusing and staying awake during the day
Treating Obstructive Sleep Apnea
If left untreated, sleep apnea can put you at a greater risk for developing bruxism, increased tooth decay, and TMJ disorder, as well as other serious physical conditions, such as, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart problems. Diagnosing sleep apnea in the early stages can help protect your long-term oral and physical health. Although Dr. Lee cannot administer an OSA diagnosis, if she notices an extensive amount of damage to your back teeth, she may recommend that you visit a sleep specialist if your sleep patterns seem to coincide with your oral health issues.

For mild to moderate cases of obstructive sleep apnea, Dr. Lee will recommend a customized oral appliance. After taking digital impressions of your mouth, she will have a partner lab custom design your mouthguard. This oral appliance will fit comfortably over your top and bottom teeth and keep your jaw in a forward, relaxed position, preventing your teeth from grinding and your throat muscles from blocking your airway when sleeping. To be the most effective, it should be worn each night. If you have extensive tooth damage as a result of teeth grinding and jaw clenching, Dr. Lee can also repair your smile with inlays, onlays, or dental crowns to help protect your teeth.

Schedule Your New Patient Exam

Don’t let another restless night of sleep go by without contacting our office. Dr. Lee can improve your sleep and quality of life with a customized oral appliance. You can email us or call 404.328.7177 to schedule your appointment with our friendly staff at Smiles 4 Grant Park.