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Marysville Sleep Apnea Treatment - Dr. David L. Hamel - Marysville Dental Care

Sleep apnea is a potentially life-threatening sleep disorder characterized by repeated pauses in breathing during sleep. The term sleep apnea is derived from the Greek etymology meaning “without breath.” For those that suffer from sleep apnea, breathing pauses can last anywhere from several seconds to minutes, and happen as often as 30 times or more per hour. Ongoing disrupted breathing causes an imbalance between the carbon dioxide and oxygen levels in the bloodstream. For those suffering from sleep apnea, carbon dioxide is exiting and not enough oxygen is entering the body.

Sensing this imbalance, the brain sends a message to the body, telling it to wake up to restart breathing the process. People with sleep apnea will partially awaken as they struggle to breathe, and this is often accompanied by loud snoring or choking sensations. Because people with sleep apnea don’t always completely awaken during the episodes, they are often unaware they have a sleeping disorder and it can remain undiagnosed.

There are two main types of this disorder: central sleep apnea which occurs when the brain fails to send important signals to the breathing muscles, and obstructive sleep apnea which occurs when air cannot flow through the nose or mouth even though the body is still trying to breathe. Obstructive sleep apnea is far more prevalent and easily treatable by the dentist. The American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine estimates more than 18 million Americans have sleep apnea and many are not receiving any sleep apnea treatment.

Common symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea can include snoring, severe early morning headaches, sleepiness in the daytime, and insomnia. Fortunately, our Marysville sleep apnea dentist is equipped with the necessary technology and expertise to treat sleep apnea in several different ways.

Marysville Sleep Apnea Treatment

If you are constantly waking up with symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea, Dr. David L. Hamel can help at our Marysville, KS dental office. Patients suspecting that they might have a sleep disorder can set an appointment for diagnosis. When they arrive for their evaluation, they will be asked to fill out forms that ask specific questions about their sleep apnea symptoms. If the evaluation determines the patient to be a good candidate for a sleep apnea dental appliance or device, Dr. Hamel sends them home with a comfortable sleep monitoring system. Sleep apnea patients return to Marysville Dental Care with the sleep monitor and Dr. Hamel goes over the results to determine if the sleep apnea case is mild, moderate, or severe. Dr. Hamel then takes impressions and X-rays to determine the best dental device for sleep apnea that works for the patient.

If you’ve already been diagnosed with sleep apnea, you’re likely using a CPAP machine to assist your breathing while you sleep. CPAP machines can be cumbersome and some patients aren’t comfortable using them. If you’re looking for an alternative, our Marysville sleep apnea dentist can provide alternatives to the CPAP machine.

Sleeping masks like the CPAP machine were traditionally used to keep the patient’s airways open while they slept, but nowadays there are several less intrusive options. Sleep apnea dental devices that gently tease the lower jaw forward are very effective in preventing the tongue from blocking the main air passage.  These dental devices are gentle, easy to wear, and often help patients avoid unwanted surgeries.

A more permanent solution to sleep apnea is to have surgery that helps pull the bone holding the tongue forward slightly. This surgery has an impressive success rate and is simple for an oral surgeon to perform. The dentist needs to formally make a diagnosis of each individual case before recommending the best course of action.

Dr. Hamel may also advise the sleep apnea patient to halt some habits that aggravate sleep apnea such as smoking, alcohol consumption, and tranquilizer use.

Reason for treating sleep apnea

It is very important to seek medical attention if sleep apnea is suspected. A sufferer can completely stop breathing numerous times per hour, and this can quickly turn into a deadly situation. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the soft tissue lying at the back of the patient’s throat collapses into the airway. The tongue then falls toward the back of the throat and tightens the blockage preventing oxygen from entering the lungs.

The problem worsens when the chest region, diaphragm, and abdomen fight for air. The efforts they make to obtain vital oxygen only cause a further tightening of the blockage. The patient must arouse from deep sleep to tense the tongue and remove the soft tissue from the airway.

Because sleep apnea causes carbon dioxide levels to skyrocket in the blood and oxygen levels to decrease, the heart has to pump harder and faster to compensate for the lack of oxygen. Sleep apnea patients can technically “die” many times each night. Sleep apnea has also been linked
to a series of serious heart-related conditions, and should be investigated by a sleep apnea dentist at the earliest opportunity.

Questions? Need an appointment?

If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment to see if our Marysville sleep apnea treatment is right for you, contact our office today.

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