Sleep Apnea

The Dangers of Chronic Snoring

Did you know that an estimated 18 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea? Sleep apnea is one of the most underdiagnosed health conditions because symptoms are largely present during sleep, so most people are entirely unaware they have it. Did you know that left untreated, sleep apnea can not only affect your quality of sleep, but can significantly increase your risk for serious health problems, and can even be deadly? Thankfully, your Houston dentist can help you determine if you suffer from sleep apnea, and can provide a simple, non-invasive treatment option without the need for a CPAP machine.

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What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a common and dangerous sleep disorder. There are several types of sleep apnea, but the one we will be discussing today is called Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Sleep apnea is generally characterized by loud, frequent snoring and breathing disruptions that cause the patient to stop breathing many times throughout the night. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the soft tissues in the back of the throat collapse during sleep, blocking the airway and preventing the sufferer from being able to breathe properly.

Signs & Symptoms

Some of the most common signs and symptoms of sleep apnea include (most of which occur during sleep):

  • Loud, frequent snoring
  • Choking or gasping for air
  • Breathing disruptions
  • Frequent urination
  • Chronic headaches & migraines
  • Morning dry mouth
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Depression & anxiety
  • Insomnia or nightmares

Risk Factors

There are several characteristics and lifestyle habits that put you at a higher risk for developing sleep apnea, including:

  • Male
  • Overweight
  • Large neck
  • Narrow airway
  • Alcohol
  • Sedatives

Health Consequences

When you really think about it, being unable to sleep through the night – night after night – will ultimately lead to a deterioration of your overall health. Our bodies depend on getting a full night’s rest each night because the only time the body can truly heal and repair itself is during sleep. Sleep apnea can cause a slow downward spiral for your quality of life and your health, while significantly increasing your risk for serious systemic diseases.

  • Low blood oxygen levels
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Heart disease (cardiovascular disease)
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Depression & anxiety

Sleep apnea also increases your risk for getting in a car accident after falling asleep at the wheel. Sleep apnea sufferers are five times more likely to get in an accident.

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Sleep Apnea Treatment

If any of the above information sounds familiar, or you’ve already been diagnosed with sleep apnea and are seeking a non-CPAP alternative, you’ve come to the right place. Dr. Ellison is happy to offer a simple, effective, non-invasive solution with oral appliance therapy.

Oral appliance therapy is a special, custom-made device that you wear like a mouth guard during sleep. The device is specially designed to fit your specific mouth and your specific needs. The device gently shifts the lower jaw forward during sleep, effectively preventing the airway from collapsing, allowing the user to breathe comfortably throughout the night.

While CPAP machines are still considered the gold standard for sleep apnea treatment, many people find them intolerable. They are loud, bulky and invasive, and prevent the user from finding restful sleep. Kind of defeats the purpose, right? That’s why oral appliance therapy from your Houston dentist is a fantastic alternative.

Your oral appliance will be custom designed for the best fit and optimum comfort. Your oral appliance is small and discreet so you can take it with you when you travel for ultimate convenience. Oral appliance therapy is equally effective at treating sleep apnea while offering a less invasive, convenient, affordable alternative to a CPAP machine.

Take control of your nights, your days, and your quality of life with sleep apnea treatment with Dr. Ellison. Everyone deserves to live a healthy, happy life with freedom from a bulky machine. We would love to speak with you about treating your sleep apnea with oral appliance therapy today!

Contact Us

If you have any questions about sleep apnea or would like to schedule a consultation with your Houston sleep dentist, Dr. Susan Ellison at Susan Ellison Dentistry & Cosmetics, give us a call today or schedule an appointment online! We have two convenient locations in the neighborhoods of Cypress and Memorial to serve you.

Give us a call or schedule a visit online today!

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