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Sleep Apnea and OSA – Risks and Treatment Options

When regular breathing is interrupted for 10 seconds or more during sleep, a person might be suffering from Sleep Apnea or Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). As a serious disorder that can only be diagnosed by a sleep specialist, many are surprised to learn that dental professionals are often the first to suspect it. This is generally because dentists see patients more regularly than a primary physician. Even so, there are important connections between sleep apnea and oral health, as well as risk factors, health complications and treatment options.

Though snoring is usually the first and most common indicator of sleep apnea, not all snorers have sleep apnea, according to MouthHealthy. Thus, it’s important to consider other symptoms, some of which include headaches (mostly in the morning), drowsiness during the day, night sweats, heartburn, irritability, insomnia, gasping during sleep or waking up with a sore throat or dry mouth. Because these symptoms can point to other conditions, a thorough examination and careful review of a patient’s pain history is necessary to connect the dots leading to sleep apnea. Typically, when a dentist suspects that a patient is suffering from sleep apnea or OSA, they refer the individual for a sleep analysis.

While sleep apnea can affect individuals of all ages, there are risk factors that make one more susceptible. Generally speaking, individuals over the age of 40 are more at risk. Additionally, if a person has a family history of sleep apnea, they are more at risk. Those with a deviated septum, allergies, sinus conditions, large tonsils or a large tongue are also more at risk. Finally, it is believed that obesity plays a role in the onset of sleep apnea as well.

It’s important to understand that when sleep apnea is not addressed, other health problems can occur such as:

  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Heart Failure and Heart Attack
  • Diabetes
  • Depression
  • Worsening of ADHD

As with many conditions, treatment for sleep apnea hinges on the severity of the case. While some individuals can simply change their sleeping habits, others may need to wear a dental appliance to open up their airway. Similarly, some benefit from changing their routine or losing weight. Even so, severe cases of OSA may require surgery to remove the obstruction and open up the airway.

Welcome To Dr. C Family Dentistry – Modern, Professional Dentistry in Spokane

If you are looking for modern, professional dentistry in Spokane, Dr. Josh Cochran and the team welcome you to Dr. C Family Dentistry. Has it been some time since you’ve visited a dentist? Do you have a dental concern? Perhaps you suffer from sleep apnea, and you need an examination. Whatever the case, you will feel at ease at Dr. C Family Dentistry in Spokane. Call today!

Posted on behalf of Dr. C Family Dentistry

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Dr. Josh Chocran

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