If you or a loved one snore or experience pauses while breathing during sleep, it may be a sign of a serious condition known as sleep apnea. This common sleep disorder affects millions across America, and can significantly increase risks to your overall health and livelihood if left untreated. Fortunately, our cosmetic dentist, Dr. Peter Ciampi, and his team here at Spring Lake Dental Care offer advanced treatment designed to help you maintain healthy breathing patterns, reduce snoring, and obtain a more restful night’s sleep.

What is sleep apnea?

As you sleep, muscles and soft tissues in the nasal passages, tongue, and throat can become so relaxed that they restrict a healthy flow of air through breathing passages. This can lead to loud snoring and other conditions related to obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). While snoring and teeth grinding are some of the most common symptoms associated with sleep apnea, the condition can also cause dangerous breathing pauses that last many seconds. Without continuous breathing, even for just a few seconds, the body is being deprived of oxygen. What can be particularly scary about sleep apnea is that the person who suffers from it may not even be aware they have the condition unless they are observed by a loved one. If you suspect you have sleep apnea, it is very important to be evaluated as quickly as possible.

What are the symptoms and risks of sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea can lead to severe – and even fatal – health consequences if it is not treated. Some of the symptoms and risks of sleep apnea include:

  • A choking or gasping sensation during sleep
  • Loud snoring
  • High blood pressure
  • Fatigue
  • Gastric reflux
  • Stroke
  • Sudden cardiac death
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Memory loss
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Sexual dysfunction

How can sleep apnea be treated?

The field of sleep apnea treatment has advanced significantly in recent years. As part of our advanced dental care treatments, our practice has found that oral appliances are some of the most effective treatments on the market. Night guards and snore guards fit along both the upper and lower rows of your teeth and are designed to help you maintain a positive and healthy flow of air during sleep. Our dentists in Monmouth County offer two of the more popular options:

Glidewell EMA® Oral Appliance

The Glidewell EMA® (Elastic Mandibular Advancement) can open your bite and advance the mandible to address restricted airways. This option can reduce the potential for breathing pauses, snoring, and other symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea. The EMA®’s innovative design, and the fact that it is customized for the best possible fit, can help provide you with a healthier night’s sleep without sacrificing comfort or ease-of-use.

TAP® 3 Elite Oral Appliance

The TAP® 3 Elite oral appliance is another option for patients who need help maintaining a healthy airflow during sleep. The TAP (Thornton Adjustable Positioner) device is designed to keep the lower jaw in a forward position, which can ultimately lead to improved breathing and a reduction in snoring. This appliance is adjustable to help patients attain the most comfortable and effective position possible.

Our own Dr. Ciampi wears the TAP® 3 Elite and, in his experience, has found it both comfortable and effective!

While devices such as the CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) have been commonly prescribed for sleep apnea sufferers in the past, many individuals find customized oral appliances to be more comfortable and less bulky than CPAP techniques. After you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, our dentist will perform a comprehensive oral evaluation and talk with you about the treatment option that will be most ideal for your needs.

If you have questions about sleep apnea, or if you would like to schedule a consultation, please contact Spring Lake Dental Care today.

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