A Practical Solution to Sleep Apnea

Leaving behind the status quo CPAP machines for a more comfortable, modern treatment that gets you sleeping again

Do you ever wake up feeling like you haven’t really slept that much? For millions of people, that is exactly the case! For the unfortunate people who suffer from sleep apnea, a collapse of tissue in the airway causes them to stop breathing for about 10 seconds at a time while they sleep, which inhibits healthy sleep as it happens over and over again.

If you’re consistently feeling tired, falling asleep in the middle of activities, nodding off while driving, or snoring loudly, it may be time to seek help! We know it can be a nightmare to face the day without enough sleep.

Why fix my sleep apnea issues?

If you get a poor night’s rest, it is going to affect pretty much everything you do that day, and maybe the next day. You may be a more irritable parent, a less effective employee, and a dangerous driver. It’s more than an annoyance. Poor sleep is recognized as a national public health problem. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control, about a third of people report unintentionally falling asleep in the last month. About five percent report nodding off at the wheel, which may be the most important case for treating sleep apnea.

50-70 million

The estimated number of US adults with a sleep or wakefulness disorder.

Others experience mood swings, depression, and worsened memory and decision-making skills.

But beyond lack of productivity and mood effects, the research is clear that sleep is essential for overall wellness. People with sleep apnea face a serious increase in risk of disease. For example, they are

  • twice as likely to have a heart attack.
  • 4 times more likely to have a stroke.
  • 3 times more likely to have coronary heart disease.
  • More likely to be obese.

There are also sleep-related dental problems, like heartburn/acid reflux and bruxism.

Okay, but do I have to wear a CPAP machine?

In one recent episode of Modern Family, Cam is wearing a CPAP machine to bed, and the show points out all the problems with the device in a humorous way. They are clunky and aggravating, with chin straps a full mask.

CPAP machines are the traditional solution for those suffering from sleep apnea. But this cumbersome device presents some problems. First and foremost, we haven’t really met anyone who likes it! Because it’s not a very comfortable machine, a lot of people simply don’t use it even if they have access or are under doctor’s orders. 90 percent of people report side effects, like discomfort, nasal congestion, claustrophobia, chest discomfort and more.

In our office, we use what is called a TAP appliance. It’s adjustable and fits over upper and lower teeth, bringing the jaw forward and opening up the airway. It allows us to provide a personalized, comfortable solution to our patients who desperately need a good night’s rest. And when the snoring stops, we get a lot of thanks for spouses too!

Here’s what one of our patients had to say:

I love my snore guard from Dr. Larsen! I do not snore anymore! I had no idea that there was a product that would help me with my problem and I was grateful to find out that Dr. Larsen provided this service. Not only do I get a better night’s sleep, but my husband is finally getting some sleep too! Dr. Larsen and his staff have been awesome to help me and continue to follow up with me. THANK YOU!

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Sleepless Nights Due to Sleep Apnea

Is your bed partner or room mate giving you sleepless nights due to his/her loud snoring? Is the snoring getting louder and longer than usual and becoming more and more frequent that it’s starting to affect your relationship? Although occasional snoring can come after taking certain medications or alcohol, constant snoring can be pointing to an underlying medical condition. Nasal and sinus problems that block the airways, or being overweight and having excess fat around the stomach can also be causing the loud snoring. Or it could be obstructive sleep apnea.

Observe your sleeping partner and take note if there are sleep pauses accompanied by choking or gasping. The pauses are the result of interrupted breathing when the airway gets blocked as the soft tissues at the back of the throat relax or collapse during sleep. Because of the breathing interruptions, the natural sleep rhythm will be similarly disrupted. Daytime sleepiness, slow reflexes and poor concentration throughout the day can be expected as natural consequences of interrupted sleep the night before.

If you suspect that your sleeping partner suffers from obstructive sleep apnea, you can help him/her with a visit to the Alpine Dental Care clinic in Utah. Alpine and Highland UT dentist Dr. Garon Larsen can confirm the condition after a comprehensive diagnosis that includes a review of his/her medical history and a sleep study. Treatment can consist of CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) therapy, oral appliance therapy or even weight management and other simple lifestyle changes. All conservative methods of treatment will be exhausted first before considering surgical means.

Don’t let snoring and obstructive sleep apnea ruin sleep. Call (801) 756-4440 to schedule a consultation with Alpine dentist Dr. Larsen.

Alpine Sleep Apnea Treatment

Sleep apnea is a condition wherein a person experiences breathing difficulties during sleep. Even though it is a fairly common condition, few people get a professional diagnosis and corresponding treatment. Moreover, people dismiss sleep apnea symptoms as normal, if embarrassing, behavior.

There are two kinds of sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea, the more common of the two, occurs when there is a physical blockage in the airway during sleep. This physical blockage could be the tongue, which sometimes collapses to the back of the throat. It could also be excessive neck fat, or the throat muscles going into atrophy during sleep.

Common symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea include heavy and habitual snoring, tossing and turning in bed, as well as a dry throat upon waking up in the morning.

Central sleep apnea occurs when the brain is unable to signal the throat muscles to regulate breathing while a person sleeps. To prevent oxygen shortage from happening, the brain forces the body to wake up. Thus, those who suffer from central sleep apnea wake up frequently throughout the course of the night, though they may not always be aware of it. They toss and turn in bed. They also have irregular breathing patterns during sleep.

Sleep apnea results in fragmented sleep, which prevents people from experiencing deep and restful sleep. This weakens the immune system and makes a person more susceptible to infections and illness in the long-term. It also makes a person lethargic, irritable, moody and unable to concentrate during waking hours.

To get a professional diagnosis, contact your Alpine dentist at (801) 756-4440. Treatment involves a combination of lifestyle changes, airway therapy and oral appliance therapy.