Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Your sleep impacts every aspect of your health and daily life. Sleeping well helps you look, feel and perform your best. But a sleep problem can be harmful to your health and well-being. One of the most common sleep problems is obstructive sleep apnea. Learn more about the warning signs and how you can get help.
About Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Nearly 30 million adults in the U.S. have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which can cause them to stop breathing hundreds of times a night for anywhere from a few seconds to more than a minute.
Sleep apnea is a chronic condition that occurs when your muscles relax during sleep, allowing soft tissue to collapse and block the airway. As a result, repeated breathing pauses occur, which often reduce your oxygen levels. These breathing pauses are followed by brief awakenings that disturb your sleep.
Common signs of sleep apnea include snoring and gasping or choking sounds during sleep. Like snoring, sleep apnea is more common in men, but it can occur in women too, especially during and after menopause. Having excess body weight, a narrow airway or misaligned jaw all increase the risk of sleep apnea.
Is Treating OSA Important?
Treating obstructive sleep apnea is incredibly important to your health. When left untreated, sleep apnea often causes excessive daytime sleepiness or fatigue, as well as morning headaches and memory loss. Sleep apnea also is a threat to your safety as it increases your risk of drowsy driving and workplace accidents. Untreated sleep apnea raises your risk for serious health problems. These include:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Chronic acid reflux
- Erectile dysfunction
Severe, untreated sleep apnea even increases your risk of death.
How is OSA Diagnosed?
Kleinheinz Dentistry is proud to offer a Free Sleep Study. Call our office for more information. 704-542-6003.
How is OSA Treated?
Dr. Kleinheinz can discuss treatment options with you. We will provide a FREE SLEEP STUDY at your convenience.
- Oral appliance therapy uses a mouth guard-like device - worn only during sleep - to maintain an open, unobstructed airway.
Research shows that oral appliance therapy is an effective treatment option for snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. An oral appliance is worn in the mouth only while you sleep and fits like a sports mouth guard or an orthodontic retainer. Oral appliances support your jaw in a forward position to help maintain an open upper airway.
Many patients consider a sleep apnea appliance to be more comfortable to wear than a CPAP mask. Oral appliances also are quiet, portable and easy to care for.
If you decide that oral appliance therapy is the best treatment option for you, then Dr. Kleinheinz will recommend a prescription for you to receive a custom-made sleep apnea appliance. More than 100 oral appliances have received FDA clearance. We prescribe and make the FDA approved appliances. Oral appliance therapy is covered by many medical insurance plans. We will do a complete benefits check upon your scheduled appointment.
Removable dentures have been around for a long time. Perhaps your grandparents had them — maybe their grandparents did too. George Washington owned several sets, and they seemed to work OK… and millions of Americans are wearing full or partial sets today. Is there a reason why you shouldn't wear dentures?
Yes… but first, a little background. At one time, dentures were the only answer to the problem of complete or partial edentulism (the loss of natural teeth). Today there's a better answer: Dental Implants. But before we look at implants, let's examine removable dentures in a little more detail.
A Closer Inspection
Dentures are certainly a time-tested technology that many people have learned to live with. Their initial purchase price is relatively inexpensive, and after a period of adjustment, many find they function adequately. But just as dentures themselves are familiar, so are the difficulties that denture wearers experience.
Removable dentures frequently require special cleaning, and they can build up unpleasant tastes and odors. Because they aren't always reliable during use, it's common for dentures to lead to a loss of self-confidence and self-esteem. Often, they don't allow you to eat the foods you really like. Also, dentures invariably need to be re-fitted and re-made over time. While the first two sets of problems may be enough to turn you away from dentures, it's the last two that give reasons to be concerned about your health.
In recent years, the importance of proper nutrition has received plenty of well-deserved attention. Here's something to note: Wearing dentures can be detrimental to good nutrition. Studies have shown that half of all denture wearers avoid many “difficult” foods (like raw fruits and vegetables, which have proven health benefits), while 29% can eat only soft or mashed items, which are often “processed” or “junk” foods. In fact, 17% say they eat more efficiently without their dentures!
For many older Americans, eating healthier is a major goal; it has been recognized as a great way to prevent disease and improve overall wellness. Dentures can make it harder to achieve that goal. They also create their own problems, which are related to bone loss.
When you lose teeth, the bone tissue in the jaw, which formerly surrounded them, inevitably begins to deteriorate. It rapidly loses volume, becoming narrower and shallower — and as it does so, the appearance of the face changes too. The decreased distance between chin and nose, and the frowning countenance caused by a loss of support for the cheeks and lips, makes a person look aged and unhappy… even if they're not (View Example).
Dentures don't stop the loss of bone; in fact, they accelerate it. By placing pressure directly on the bone's surface, rather than into the bone structure beneath it, they actually speed up this destructive process. The reason dentures need to be re-lined or re-made is because bone loss is changing the contours of the jaw. And the consequences of wearing dentures aren't just skin deep: Thinner bones are more prone to fracture, and other associated oral health issues (such as TMJ problems) may become a concern.
A Better Alternative
Today, there's a better alternative to dentures: dental implants. Because the remarkable technology of implants allows them to fuse with living bone tissue in the jaw, they provide the stimulus needed to keep the bone from eroding. In turn, because they're anchored so solidly, they function much better than dentures: You can eat any of your favorite foods, or try something new — the same way you would with your natural teeth.
The dental implant procedure has a success rate of over 95 percent. Implants require no special care beyond normal brushing and flossing; they won't decay or stain, and they're designed to last a lifetime. While their initial cost is usually higher, implants offer something dentures don't — long-term value. And the enjoyment and self-confidence many people regain with dental implants is something you can't put a price on.
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