Obstructive sleep apnea is a common condition in which the airway becomes blocked by the soft tissues of the mouth and throat, causing intermittent pauses in breathing. Dr. James M. Stein can help improve symptoms with sleep apnea treatment at our Boston, MA, practice by prescribing an oral appliance. This simple device is designed to gently pull the jaw forward, thereby opening the airway and improving breathing and sleep. Treatment can enable you to experience less daytime sleepiness and dramatically improved energy and mood.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that affects nearly 25 million people in the U.S. and causes interruptions in breathing that can last from a few seconds to several minutes. Sleep apnea can be either obstructive (OSA) or central (CSA). CSA affects the nervous system and requires the treatment provided by a specialist.
As the most common type of sleep apnea, OSA occurs when the soft tissues of the throat, including the tonsils, uvula, or tongue (or a combination) sag during sleep, blocking your airway and interrupting your breathing. Patients with sleep apnea are typically unaware they suffer from the condition, but often wake up multiple times throughout the night gasping for air. Snoring can also have a serious impact on your sleeping partner. For these reasons, a family member or sleeping partner who notices a cessation in breathing or persistent snoring can often help alert individuals suffering from sleep apnea.
Symptoms and Causes of Sleep Apnea
Common symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea include:
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Difficulty concentrating
- Moodiness, anxiety, or depression
- Dry mouth or a sore throat upon waking
- Morning headaches
- Frequent urination throughout the night
Although anyone can develop sleep apnea, you are at a higher risk if you are older, overweight, male, have a family history of OSA, or smoke. If you have nasal congestion or tonsillitis, a short neck or narrow airway, or use alcohol or sedatives heavily you are also at increased risk.
Treating Sleep Apnea
OSA can have a negative effect on patients’ sleep and overall health. If left untreated, it can lead to severe health concerns, such as diabetes, weight gain, high blood pressure, and heart problems.
Dr. Stein can also provide a customized oral appliance that will push the jaw forward to help hold it in a relaxed position, preventing your airway from getting blocked.
Although dentists are qualified to treat the symptoms of sleep apnea, only a sleep study specialist can provide a diagnosis. If Dr. Stein notices any of the symptoms, he can refer you to a trusted practitioner in the area. Once you receive a diagnosis, you can return to our office.
Most often, Dr. Stein will recommend a customized oral appliance. This device, which is worn at night, will push the jaw forward to help hold it in a relaxed position, preventing your airway from getting blocked. In more severe cases, a specialist may recommend a CPAP machine or surgery.
Achieve a Restful Night's Sleep
If you are dealing with chronic daytime exhaustion, mood swings, or any other symptoms that indicate sleep apnea, reach out to us today. Contact our practice using our online form or call (617) 227-6076 to schedule your consultation with Dr. Stein.