An Overview of Sleep Apnea

What is Sleep Apnea?

While there has been an impressive amount of advancement made in a variety of medical areas, obesity continues to remain a major drain on the healthcare system as a whole. Obesity can lead to a number of chronic medical problems including diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. One of the other problems that obesity can cause is called sleep apnea. For those who don’t know, apnea means the cessation of breathing. Newborn babies can have periodic apneic episodes; however, these tend to dissipate shortly after birth. People who carry a significant amount of weight can stop breathing periodically in their sleep. This is called sleep apnea. It is dangerous because people could die if their breathing doesn’t resume; however, most people only stop breathing for a short time because the brain tells the body to breathe. This periodic cessation of breathing while sleeping can lead to severe headaches in the morning due to the buildup of carbon dioxide in the body overnight.

What to Expect when Visiting a Dental Professional for Sleep Apnea

Patients who suffer from sleep apnea may be referred to a dentist for further investigation regarding their condition. Sleep apnea can develop from a variety of reasons due to obesity. The extra weight that people carry can collapse the trachea, leading to problems breathing. In many cases, people’s sleep apnea can be treated by adjustments in the alignment of the jaw. Many patients can be given an orthodontic retainer that they can wear during sleep. This retainer can help to move the jaw forward slightly. This will help to keep the mouth and trachea open while the patient is sleeping, cutting down on the number of apneic episodes overnight.

What are the Goals of an Orthodontic Retainer for Sleep Apnea?

There are several goals when it comes to wearing an orthodontic retainer for sleep apnea. The number one goal is the cessation of all apneic episodes during sleep. This is important because the cessation of breathing during sleep can lead to death. In addition, the retainer should help to remove any and all symptoms the patient is suffering due to sleep apnea. For example, many patients wake up in the middle of the night due to apnea, leading a lack of restful sleep. Many other patients have morning headaches because carbon dioxide builds up in the bloodstream during the night. These headaches should stop as well. The goals of sleep apnea treatment include the removal of all negative health consequences due to sleep apnea.

More than Just Orthodontic Retainers for Sleep Apnea

Patients who are looking for a dentist in the Vero Beach, FL area should contact Dr. Alex Planes with Planes Dental Arts. Dr. Planes is a Vero Beach cosmetic dentist who has an incredible amount of experience treating sleep apnea. Dr. Planes understands the severe impact that sleep apnea can have on a patient’s quality of life. Call Planes Dental Arts today to schedule an appointment.