sleep apnea

sleep apneaSleep Apnea

Serving Choto, Northshore, and surrounding areas of Knoxville, TN

Sleep apnea affects millions of Americans each year. Unfortunately, many of these Americans, even children, are living with undiagnosed obstructive sleep apnea and do not even realize it. Your Choto sleep apnea specialist has provided you with some information about obstructive sleep apnea, the risks, and how it can be treated by your local Knoxville dentist.

What is obstructive sleep apnea?

It is a serious condition in which your airway becomes temporarily blocked while you sleep, preventing proper airflow. This can occur due to enlarged soft tissue such as tonsils and adenoids, a deviated septum, or a misaligned bite that results in the lower jaw shifting backward while lying down – causing the soft tissue of the airway to collapse.

When this occurs, you snore or gasp for air as your brain is awakened so that you can breathe again. These episodes can occur several to hundreds of times an hour while you sleep! This is a problem because even if you think that you are sleeping enough hours, you actually are not since your brain is being awakened throughout the night. This could explain why you still feel tired and fatigued throughout the day, even though you go to bed at a decent hour and wake up at the same time every day.

What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?

Symptoms of sleep apnea are far-reaching, although snoring is the primary symptom of sleep apnea, it is not only one.

Other symptoms of sleep apnea in adults include:

  • Excessive daytime fatigue
  • Dry mouth/sore throat
  • Headaches (especially in the morning)
  • Mood swings
  • Problems focusing
  • Decreased libido

For children, they may exhibit ADHD-like symptoms, become disinterested in sports or usual activities, a decline in academics, or otherwise seem hyperactive. Studies indicate that there are children being treated for ADHD or other behavioral based disorders when in reality they have a sleep-breathing disorder and are starved of oxygen and sleep!

Sleep Apnea Treatment in Knoxville

If you or a loved one are experiencing any of these symptoms, contact Choto Family Dentistry today. We can diagnose and treat sleep apnea using comfortable and convenient treatment. The cause of sleep apnea will vary from each patient. Sometimes, simply adjusting your lifestyle, specifically for adults, may help ease your symptoms.

Lifestyle changes may include:

  • Limit intake of alcohol
  • Lose weight
  • Avoid tobacco
  • Sleep in different positions, do not sleep on your back
  • Sleep with your head elevated on an extra pillow
  • Avoid late night snacks or heavy meals close to bedtime

Oral Appliance Therapy for Sleep Apnea

When these changes are not enough, Choto Family Dentistry may recommend oral appliance therapy, which is a custom-made mouthpiece that slightly repositions your lower jaw. The effects of this mouthpiece help to unlock your airway, allowing for proper airflow. These custom-made sleep apnea appliances are much more effective than the kind you will find in stores. The oral appliances crafted by Choto Family Dentistry are also adjustable by your dentist to fit the changing needs of your sleep apnea treatment.

Why we do not use the CPAP

CPAP (continuous positive airflow pressure) is another option for more severe cases of sleep apnea. A CPAP machine is worn while you sleep and the machine forces air through a mask and into your mouth, which helps open the airway. The problem with a CPAP is the machine is noisy and inconvenient. Many patients are not compliant with using a CPAP, which is why Choto Family Dentistry recommends the use of an oral appliance first.

Sleep Apnea Treatment in Knoxville

For a sleep apnea evaluation, contact the office of Choto Family Dentistry today by calling (865) 409-5077 to schedule your airway evaluation.

We welcome patients of Knoxville, Tennesee, and the communities of Choto and Northshore.