As a Farmington Hills dentist, Dr. James Stewart provides cosmetic, general, family, restorative, and sleep dental services to his patients from across the Livonia, Michigan area. Today, in the midst of National Sleep Awareness Week, Dr. Stewart wants to discuss sleep apnea and why it’s so important to seek out treatment for this serious sleep disorder.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea affects roughly 12 million Americans at any give time, yet many people don’t know that they suffer from this common-yet-debilitating sleep disorder.
Dr. Stewart treats obstructive sleep apnea, which occurs when the airways become blocked and normal breathing stops for extended periods of time—ranging from several seconds to several minutes—during sleep. When this occurs, the brain wakes the body to reinstate normal breathing. Additionally, the lack of oxygen flow can lead to a multitude of health problems, including heart attacks and/or cardiac arrest, because the heart is forced to work harder to pump oxygen through the blood to other parts of the body.
Why is Treatment for Sleep Apnea Necessary?
In addition to putting your life in danger every time you lay down to sleep after a long day, sleep apnea can negatively affect other areas of your life. Think about it: because you’re waking up several times—sometimes as many as 30 times per hour—to reinstate normal breathing each night, you’re not obtaining the sleep you need to remain healthy and energized. As a result, your performance and alertness during daytime activities, including working, driving, spending time with your loved ones, going to school, etc., can plummet and put you in a dangerous situation. Sleep apnea has also been linked to aches and pains, hearing loss, fatigue, daytime drowsiness, fibromyalgia, depression, poor mental health, and memory impairment.
How is Sleep Apnea Treated?
To treat your sleep apnea and help you obtain the quality sleep you need and deserve, Dr. Stewart can create a comfortable and easy-to-use oral appliance to hold your lower jaw and tongue in the proper position while you sleep. This custom-made appliance will keep your jaw position and airway open while you rest comfortable and soundly.
Depending on your needs, Dr. Stewart may suggest a combination of oral appliance treatment and a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine. This device delivers a continuous stream of clean, safe air through a comfortable face mask to help keep your soft oral tissues from collapsing and blocking airflow during sleep.
If you wake up gasping for air several times each night, it’s time to reserve an appointment with Livonia, MI dentist Dr. Stewart. Call (734) 425-4400 to reserve an appointment.