Sleep Apnea Treatment

Persistent loud snoring that keeps your partner awake at night may be more than an annoyance—it may be a symptom of obstructive sleep apnea or OSA.

At Unkel & Shibilski, we offer non-invasive sleep apnea treatment so our patients can find relief and go back to getting a full, restful night’s sleep.

What Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea? 

Obstructive sleep apnea or OSA is a serious sleep-related breathing disorder that is potentially life-threatening.

As our bodies prepare for sleep, the muscles in the mouth and throat soften and relax. With OSA, the tongue falls back against the throat and blocks the airway. Breathing stops, and the lack of oxygen causes the brain to rouse the body enough to breathe, often resulting in a loud gasp or snorting sound.

Apnea is defined as a cessation of breathing for ten seconds or longer, but episodes can last a minute or longer for some people. And it’s not uncommon for them to experience these episodes hundreds of times each night. 

Health Risks Associated with Sleep Apnea

Without a free exchange of air, the amount of oxygen in the body decreases. Untreated OSA increases the risk for: 

  • Heart attack 
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • High blood pressure
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Stroke

Symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea

The constant waking and struggling to breathe disrupts restful sleep, and you wake up feeling exhausted without understanding why. Your bed partner may alert you about long pauses in breathing or loud gasps for air. 

However, If you live alone, you may not be aware that you have sleep apnea, but the symptoms will show up in the form of:

  • Excessive daytime fatigue
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Mood changes or depression
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Drowsy driving accidents

Who’s at Risk for Sleep Apnea?

Risk factors for obstructive sleep apnea include: 

  • Obesity
  • Being male
  • Chronic nasal congestion
  • Large neck or small jaw
  • Narrow airway
  • Smoking

There is no cure for sleep apnea, but it can be managed and treated. You can help minimize sleep apnea symptoms by making lifestyle changes like losing weight, quitting smoking, and cutting alcohol consumption.

How Do You Treat Sleep Apnea?

At Unkel & Shibilski Dental, we work with top sleep physicians in our area who diagnose obstructive sleep apnea. They may recommend a lab sleep study or at-home equipment that monitors your blood oxygen level, heart rate, blood pressure, and brain waves to determine the severity of your sleep apnea.

CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) Mask

The first-line approach for severe sleep apnea is a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) mask. The CPAP works by providing a steady stream of positive air pressure that keeps the airway clear and unobstructed. 

Mandibular Advancement Devices (MAD)

Unfortunately, many sleep apnea sufferers find the mask cumbersome and uncomfortable, and it often goes unused. At Unkel & Shibilski, we offer customized oral appliances that work by moving the jaw slightly forward so the tongue and soft tissue can’t fall back and block the airway. 

This device is an alternative to a CPAP mask and works well for those with mild to moderate sleep apnea. Our dentists will work with your sleep specialist to evaluate whether this device is the safest, most appropriate treatment for you.

Get the Restful Sleep Your Body Needs

If your partner complains of loud snoring, or you experience any of the sleep apnea symptoms listed above, please call our Inverness dental office in Englewood, CO, to schedule a sleep apnea consultation appointment.