Sleep Apnea

Las Vegas Dentist Serving Summerlin, Spring Valley And Nearby Nevada Locations

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a serious condition that disrupts your breathing while you sleep. Although many people suffer, the issue often goes undiagnosed and results in serious health issues later in life.

If you suspect you may be suffering from sleep apnea in the Las Vegas, Summerlin or Spring Valley areas, please contact Nevada Dental Esthetics today by completing the form on this page or calling 702-737-3553 to schedule a free consultation with Dr. Jorge Paez.

sleep apnea snoring

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

The most common type is obstructive sleep apnea. This form of the condition occurs when your breathing stops due to blockage of your airway during slumber. This can be caused by the tongue and throat muscles relaxing too much during sleep or the size of the tonsils, uvula, neck and tongue. Even the position in which you sleep can be linked to the condition.

What Can Happen If It Is Left Untreated?

Left untreated, it can present several risks for your long-term health, including:

What Are The Signs Of Sleep Apnea?

Since it occurs during slumber, many people don’t discuss the condition with their doctor simply because they aren’t aware of the symptoms. It is most often a partner who recognizes the symptoms because they are kept up at night by loud snoring or they notice lapses in their partner’s breathing. People who sleep alone are far less likely to catch the symptoms and talk to their doctor.

Although snoring and interrupted breathing are key indicators, there are other symptoms that can be used to determine if you are affected, including:

  • Sore throat
  • Dry mouth
  • Waking up with a chocking feeling
  • Insomnia
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Morning headaches
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Weight gain
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Problems with short-term memory
  • Decreased libido

A Comfortable CPAP Alternative

Severe cases typically require the use of a continuous positive airway pressure machine, commonly referred to as a CPAP machine. Because these machines are so loud and cumbersome, most patients with mild to moderate sleep apnea prefer to use a CPAP alternative.

At Nevada Dental Esthetics, Dr. Paez is a member of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine and treats patients who suffer from mild to moderate sleep apnea through the use of a customized, acrylic oral appliance worn during slumber. This effective snoring treatment keeps your tongue in a healthy position while you sleep and is widely regarded as a comfortable, convenient CPAP alternative.

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How Common is Sleep Apnea among Adults?

It's been estimated that about one in five American Adults has mild sleep apnea. This is described as having only a few episodes of non-breathing an hour while sleeping. One out of about every 15 adults may have more significant degrees of sleep apnea, which means they may have dozens of apnea episodes per hour while they sleep.

How is Sleep Apnea Diagnosed?

There are a few different ways that you and your doctor or dentist may determine that you have some form of sleep apnea. These include:

  • Polysomnography. This fancy clinical work is simply a sleep test. The most comprehensive sleep studies occur in a sleep lab. For your test, you'd spend an entire night in the lab, sleeping with a number of different monitors measuring various vital signs, from your breathing to your heart rate to oxygen levels and more. Formal lab-centered sleep studies can be comprehensive, but they may also be somewhat uncomfortable for people who aren't used to sleeping away from home. For this reason, many patients are prescribed home sleep studies. These tests aren't as comprehensive as lab sleep studies, but they can capture sufficient data to reach an accurate diagnosis. 
  • Medical history and physical examination. When you consult with your dentist or doctor about your suspicion of sleep apnea, they'll discuss your health and medical history to begin to understand your symptoms. They may also use visualization, measurements, and special instruments to thoroughly examine the tongue, mouth, neck, and other structural anatomy that may contribute to a sleep apnea risk.
  • Smartphone apps. This may be your very first-line test to explore whether or not you may have sleep apnea. There are several smartphone apps that record or track snoring. This can give you baseline information to then take to your doctor or dentist for further review. Because they only measure snoring, smartphone apps are not a substitute for a professional sleep study.

How is Sleep Apnea Treated?

Sleep apnea contributes to increased risks of potentially serious health conditions, including Type 2 diabetes and hypertension. It's important to receive proper treatment that regulates air flow effectively. Options range from lifestyle changes to surgery, as follows:

  • Weight loss. In some instances, obstructive sleep apnea is caused by or worsened by excess weight. In some instances, weight loss can help resolve the issue. Even if you are not overweight but have a large neck circumference, you may benefit from lifestyle changes that reduce pressure on your throat when your neck muscles relax. 
  • CPAP therapy. CPAP is continuous positive airway pressure. It is the delivery of air through a small mask that's worn while you sleep. The mask may fit over the nose and mouth or only over the nose. The pressure of the air entering the nostrils keeps the airway open. 
  • Oral sleep apnea devices. This form of treatment is often referred to as an alternative to CPAP therapy. Studies indicate that CPAP is the most effective method of maintaining consistent airflow for sleep apnea patients. However, because compliance with this modality is relatively low, oral appliance therapy actually works better. Oral appliances are easy to use, they're comfortable, and they have been carefully studied for effectiveness. This method of treatment can keep the airway from collapsing by moving the tongue and lower jaw forward, preventing them from blocking the throat.
  • Surgery. In severe cases of obstructive sleep apnea that do not improve with more conservative treatments, a doctor may recommend surgery that restructures the jaw, throat, or nasal passageways. Most people do not require this level of care to see satisfactory improvement.

Schedule a Consultation at Nevada Dental Esthetics

To learn more about sleep apnea and the snoring treatment available at Nevada Dental Esthetics, please contact us today online or at 702-737-3553 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Paez. We welcome patients from Las Vegas, Summerlin and Spring Valley.

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