Do you snore loudly and feel excessively fatigued throughout the day? If so, it's possible you suffer from a sleep condition known as obstructive sleep apnea.
If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, experienced Houston, Katy, Sugar Land and The Woodlands sleep apnea dentist Dr. Ronald Konig can provide treatment to help you get a restful night's sleep. To schedule a consultation, please call us at 713-668-2289.
Sleep Apnea and Snoring
A person snores when his/her airway becomes blocked during the deep breathing that occurs while sleeping. Sometimes, the tongue relaxes and falls back toward the throat, blocking the flow of air. As less air is able to pass through, you begin to snore – a result of the vibrations in your throat. Not all snoring is the result of sleep apnea, but most people suffering from this sleep condition snore.
What are the issues that can occur if you are sleeping with your mouth open?
- Sleep apnea
- Decreased oxygen saturation
In addition to snoring, symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea may include:
- Choking and gasping during sleep
- Night sweats
- Waking with a sore throat or dry mouth
- Frequent morning headaches
The consequences of sleep apnea may continue throughout the day, manifesting in ways including:
- Excessive daytime fatigue
- Memory and concentration problems
- Mood swings
- Depression and anxiety
This sleep disorder is quite serious. As your body and brain are repeatedly denied oxygen throughout the night, you can experience serious health effects as a result. Sleep apnea has been linked to high blood pressure, heart disease and an increased risk for type 2 diabetes and obesity. To avoid these more serious and life-threatening complications, it is best to visit our Houston sleep apnea dentist to learn about safe and effective treatment options that can help prevent airway obstruction and restore a full and restful night’s sleep.
What are the Causes of Sleep Apnea
Significant improvements and understanding of what causes sleep apnea or sleep issues and jaw development issues occurred. Years ago, sleep apnea was thought to anatomical and as well as an overweight issue. This is where the CPAP and weight loss treatments began. Compliance is challenging with this and is not the answer to all sleep apnea.
Myofunctional therapy is another area that pays attention to breathing dysfunction along with tongue posture. It is now known that there are other causative factors that lead to sleep apnea or poor sleep.
Mouth breathing is a serious culprit. If the mouth is open the airway can become more constricted as well cause the upper airway to collapse. In addition, to these factors, mouth breathing can and does lead to jaw development problems. These problems include but are not limited to underbites, overbites, open bites, and also speech and postural problems.
When one breathes through their nose, the tongue can more easily go to the roof of the mouth and not fall back and block the airway when the mouth is open. Quite often, nasal surgeries fail as the mouth breathing or aberrant tongue posture is not addressed. It is critical that patients breath through their nose both day and night for proper health and jaw development too.
There is help and hope for suffers of sleep apnea. We are here to help you. Just take the first step. Please contact Dr. Ronald Konig today at 713-668-2289 to schedule an appointment and learn more about your treatment options.
Sleep Apnea Risk Factors
Anyone can develop sleep apnea. That said, some people have certain risk factors that may make them more likely to develop the condition:
- Overweight and obese individuals are at an increased risk of developing sleep apnea. In fact, those classified as obese are four times as likely to suffer from the condition than those who are at a healthy weight
- Those who use alcohol or sedatives are more likely to develop sleep apnea because these can relax the muscles of the throat and encourage nocturnal airway collapse
- Smokers are four times as likely to develop sleep apnea than nonsmokers. In most cases, cessation of smoking can reduce your risk
- Patients with narrowed airways are more likely to develop sleep apnea because the airway is more likely to become blocked at night
- Patients with thick necks may be more likely to suffer from sleep apnea than those with relatively average necks. In men, sleep apnea is more likely for those with neck circumferences of 17 inches or greater. In women, it's 15 inches
- Men are twice as likely to suffer from sleep apnea as women
- Women suffer from an elevated risk of sleep apnea after menopause
- The incidence of sleep apnea is higher in older adults than in younger patients
- Genetics also play a role. If one or more of your family members suffer from the sleep condition, you're more likely to well
Sleep apnea can be a serious sleep condition, but treatment options are improving every day. While bulky machines used to be the only reliable treatment, oral appliances have proved to be excellent options for many patients. And there are numerous additional sleep apnea treatments available at our Houston office to help patients find relief.
If you suffer from sleep apnea, there is help available, but you have to take the first step. Please contact Dr. Ronald Konig today at 713-668-2289 to schedule an appointment and learn more about your treatment options.
Is Snoring Normal?
Snoring is common but that doesn’t make it normal. When you snore, it’s because air is not moving through your airway as it should. There is some type of obstruction that is causing the tissues in the nose and throat to vibrate as air attempts to pass. Some snoring may be considered “normal,” such as snoring when you have congestion or a cold. You might snore if you have allergies. These types of snoring are temporary, though. Chronic snoring is a concern because it indicates that you’re not moving air as efficiently as you could. Therefore, it’s a good idea to consult with a doctor or dentist who is trained to evaluate and treat chronic snoring.
Which Sleep Apnea Treatment is Best?
The best sleep apnea treatment is one that works! This may look different for you than it does for someone else. For example, some people manage their sleep apnea using a CPAP machine. This medical device sustains breathing by forcing air through the nostrils via small prongs or a nasal mask. The pressure of the air keeps the airway open through the throat. CPAP therapy can be very effective. However, many people do not comply with this treatment regimen due to inconvenience or discomfort.
Oral appliance therapy may be an ideal treatment option for you if you’ve tried CPAP therapy and just haven’t liked the experience. Your sleep apnea requires management, and your dentist can customize the right type of oral appliance based on your anatomy and your needs.
Why is Sleep Apnea Dangerous?
Sleep apnea is considered a serious health risk because it is associated with various other conditions. First, though, it is dangerous because, with sleep apnea, you actually stop breathing for short periods of time. When you’re not breathing, your body is stimulated to produce adrenaline. Adrenaline and cortisol, both stress hormones, can become out of balance in terms of production due to the frequent interruptions to breathing during sleep.
Even without fully waking, you are roused enough by the jolts of adrenaline and cortisol to miss out on the deep sleep that restores your body and mind. Without proper treatment, sleep apnea can quickly lead to sleep deprivation. When you are sleep deprived, you are at a greater risk for accidents of all kinds.
How Long Does a Sleep Apnea Sleep Study Take?
Sleep studies are commonly performed to accurately diagnose the type and severity of sleep apnea a person has. Your doctor or dentist may recommend a home sleep study that you can conduct by applying various monitors before going to sleep. The monitors are connected to a recording device that measures relevant vital signs, such as your heart rate and breathing rate. The device is then returned to the office or sent directly to a sleep study lab for interpretation.
Another option that may be recommended for some people is to have a sleep study done in a formal sleep center. In this case, just like a home sleep study, you might be observed for eight to nine hours, the normal amount of time that most people are asleep.
If you are advised to have a sleep study, you can expect to be given the fullest extent of information to help you prepare.
What Can Happen if I Don't Seek Sleep Apnea Treatment?
If you have signs that your sleep is disrupted due to this common sleep disorder, please seek the assistance of a trained professional. Without proper care, sleep apnea can cause a number of chronic, serious health condition, including some that increase the risk of stroke and heart attack. If you do not receive proper care for sleep apnea, your waking hours may not be nearly as productive and enjoyable as they can be. Not only can your health suffer, but so can your quality of life.
We’re here to help you navigate how to manage obstructive sleep apnea as conveniently and comfortably as possible.
Treating Sleep Apnea
One of the most common treatments for sleep apnea is CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) – a machine that forces oxygen into the airways while you sleep. CPAP machines deliver oxygen through masks or tubes and may be the most effective treatment for patients with central sleep apnea, a type of sleep apnea caused by an underlying medical condition. However, for patients with obstructive sleep apnea, these machines may be entirely unnecessary. Worse still, they can make it even more difficult to sleep.
If you are suffering from sleep apnea, it can be hard to find a treatment that works. CPAP is only tolerated by about a quarter of those for whom it is prescribed. Since sleep apnea is a potentially deadly illness, it is important to find a treatment that works not just in theory, not just for the majority, but one that works for you on a nightly basis. It is for this reason that Dr. Konig works with a wide variety of oral appliances.
Although the goal of all these appliances is the same – the reduction of snoring and/or sleep apnea – their approach can be very different and your overall results in everything from the quality of sleep to mouth dryness to jaw comfort can be different as well. Options available through our Houston sleep apnea dentist include:
- SUAD – SUAD is a variation on the Herbst appliance, a mandibular repositioning dental appliance that has been in use for treating snoring and mild to moderate sleep apnea since its approval by the FDA in 1996. The SUAD system retains all the advantages of the Herbst appliance but adds an internal metal framework for increased durability and lifespan. The SUAD has two main advantages. First, it allows the jaw to move more freely at night than most other appliances. Second, the SUAD is highly adjustable, allowing for fine adjustments to be made to the appliance to achieve the best possible therapeutic results.
- OASYS – OASYS, the Oral/Nasal Airway SYStem is a device that combines both mandibular repositioning and nasal dilation to reduce snoring and sleep apnea. The OASYS is designed to minimize the amount of stress put on your teeth at night by only fitting over the lower teeth and having a flange that fits in front of the upper teeth. This allows lateral movement of the two arches as well as forward (and downward) motion of the lower jaw. The OASYS only restricts the critical posterior motion of the lower jaw, and even allows you to breathe freely through your mouth. The appliance is ideal for people whose breathing is restricted not only in the throat but also in the nasal cavity.
- Silent Nite – Silent Nite is one of the most commonly prescribed snoring prevention appliances because it is flexible, comfortable, and durable. It has been shown clinically to dramatically improve snoring in most patients, and may also help cases of mild sleep apnea. Made with a durable hard outer layer and a comfortable soft inner layer, the Silent Nite is an excellent compromise between comfort and successful treatment. Because it does not interfere with mouth breathing or restrict the motion of the jaw, patients report little discomfort from the use of the Silent Nite device.
- Silencer Professional – The Silencer System consists of three main components, The main body of the appliance, which fits over the teeth, is made of an elastomer that is softer and more comfortable than the acrylic body of most appliances, such as the SUAD and the OASYS. However, the Silencer system has acrylic bite pads are placed in the molar region, where the majority of the force of the bite is placed. The precision adjustment of the appliance is supplied by a uniquely designed titanium hinge. The hinge is made of implant-grade titanium and is engineered for durability, adjustability (through a range of 10 mm!), and protection of the temporomandibular joint.
- Tongue Retaining Device – Most of these oral appliances are designed to reposition the mandible to reduce constriction of the throat, but the tongue retaining device works differently. For people whose main problem is the posterior motion of the tongue, this unique device holds the tongue in position through the creation of negative pressure in the vacuum bulb at the front of the appliance. It is not rigidly held in place by the teeth, allowing free movement of the jaws, a high degree of comfort and low impact on the teeth and jaws.
- MicrO₂® Sleep and Snore Device – The MicrO₂® is an oral appliance that advances the lower jaw into a slightly forward projection to help keep the tongue in place and the airways unobstructed during sleep. Customized by Dr. Konig to fit comfortably into the mouth, the MicrO₂® is 30% smaller than similar sleep apnea devices, making it much more comfortable for long-term use. Although less bulky and more comfortable, quality and efficacy are not sacrificed as a result. In fact, in clinical trials, 100% of patients with mild obstructive sleep apnea were able to achieve complete relief. Nearly 90% of patients with moderate sleep apnea achieved the same results, making the MicrO₂® one of the most effective CPAP alternatives available.
None of these devices represent the "best" treatment for all snorers and sleep apnea sufferers. Instead, they all represent good treatments and the question is which is best for you and your situation. Call 713-668-2289 today for service in the Houston area, including The Woodlands, Sugar Land, Katy and other nearby communities.
Will Myofunctional Therapy Help My Snoring?
Myofunctional Therapy corrects muscle weakness in the tongue which can contribute to obstructive sleep apnea and/or chronic snoring. The strengthening and correct positioning of the tongue can relax the supporting structures which can help improve sleep-related issues.
Because obstructive sleep apnea is often caused by or exacerbated by lifestyle choices, changing behavior is sometimes necessary for truly effective treatment. While a radical transformation is not likely needed, some steps may help ensure your sleep apnea treatment produces the best results.
Changes that may be necessary for optimal sleep apnea reduction include:
- Smoking cessation
- Reduction in alcohol consumption
- Maintaining a healthy weight
Choosing a healthy diet and making sure you get at least three hours of moderate exercise every week can help reduce snoring and other sleep apnea symptoms. If you struggle with these things, working with a nutritionist and personal trainer can be very beneficial. We can discuss these things as appropriate during your sleep apnea treatment consultation.
Contact our Houston Sleep Apnea Dentist
If you suffer from sleep apnea or are in need of a noninvasive treatment option for chronic snoring, please call 713-668-2289 to schedule a consultation at the Konig Center for Cosmetic & Comprehensive Dentistry. Located in Houston, Dr. Konig welcomes patients from Sugar Land, The Woodlands, Katy, Conroe, King, Spring, and all surrounding areas of Texas.