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Dental Sleep Medicine Albuquerque

Sleep apnea is a condition of cessation of airflow at the nostrils and mouth during sleep. Episodes may last from seconds to minutes. A hypopnea is shallow breathing in which the air flow in and out of the airway is less than half of normal. Repeated episodes of both over time cause a decrease in the body’s oxygen saturation, which can lead to other life threatening systemic conditions. OSA has been shown to increase the risk for systemic hypertension, pulmonary vascular disease, ischemic heart disease, cerebral vascular disease, congestive heart failure and arrhythmias.

There are three types of sleep apnea: Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), Central sleep apnea (CSA), and mixed sleep apnea. Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a cessation of airflow due to a mechanical obstruction of upper airways, such as a semi-collapsed trachea, a large tongue relaxed over the back of the throat or a large amount of soft tissue in the uvula area. OSA is the most common of the three and can be treated with Oral Appliance Therapy also known as a Mandibular Advancement Device if needed. Central Sleep Apnea is a cessation of airflow due to a failure in the signalling pathway from the Brain to the muscles that control breathing. Mixed Apnea is a combination of the two.

Common symptoms of OSA are snoring, heavy mouth breathing, sore throat, dry mouth, teeth grinding, excessive daytime sleepiness, fatigue, insomnia, depression, weight gain, GERD, high blood pressure, hyperactivity, irritability, lack of attention and memory loss.

Common risk Factors- Excess weight, narrowed airways, large tongue size, chronic nasal congestion, smoking, post-menopausal, diabetes, gender, and a family history of sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea can only be diagnosed by a sleep physician after a diagnostic sleep test has been completed. A patient can be diagnosed with mild, moderate, or a severe condition. The physician will prescribe the treatment that is best for the patient. Many times in a patient diagnosed with severe OSA, a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine is suggested. If a patient has a difficult time using the machine a Mandibular Advancement Device may then be indicated. For cases that are mild and moderate a Mandibular Advancement Device maybe first choice for treatment.

As part of our commitment to overall health and wellness, Dr. Adams and her team have been trained to screen for signs of OSA that present in the mouth. Don’t be alarmed if the next time you’re in, Dr. Adams starts asking you questions about your sleep or if anyone has ever told you that you snore? So be honest because your answers just may help prolong your life!

Dr. Billie Adams at Peak Family Dentistry invites you to be a part of a unique sleep study survey. Please follow this link to complete the survey as soon as possible.