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Oral Health Recaps: What is Sleep Apnea?

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Did you know the sleep apnea can occur in more than one form? Although sleep apnea as a sleeping disorder that consists of irregular breathing patterns while you sleep, it’s not always caused by restricted airways. Although obstructive sleep apnea is the result of a blocked airflow, there’s another form of sleep apnea known as central sleep apnea. Central sleep apnea occurs when brain signals sent to your breathing muscles are not adequately received. Both forms of sleep apnea can cause severe oral health conditions including brain tumors, brain infections, stroke, and heart failure. Thus, it is important to detect any signs and risk factors for sleep apnea and receive the necessary treatments.

If you find yourself at an increased risk for sleep apnea, it could be linked to a family history of the disorder. Known risk factors for sleep apnea are deviated septums, allergies, sinus problems, age, large tonsils, large tongues, and small jaws in relation to the face.

Sleep apnea can often be treated easier than you think. In some situations, sleeping habits may be corrected and adjusted to lower your risk for sleep apnea. This can be as simple as not sleeping on your back. In other situations, treatment may require a device to keep your airway open while you sleep. CPAPs, also known as continuous positive air pressure devices, are designed to do just that. Furthermore, devices and oral appliances can help shift and support your jaw to prevent your airway from collapsing. In serious cases, surgery may be required to open up your airway.

Elite Smiles Dentistry wants to help you treat sleep apnea. To schedule an appointment at our office in St. Augustine, Florida, please call us at 904-201-4304. Dr. Steven Freeman and our team believe a happy smile is a healthy smile!