Sleep apnea is a disorder that causes disruption in your breathing as you sleep. These cessations in breathing can happen dozens of times in an hour, causing you to lose sleep. If left untreated, sleep apnea symptoms quickly become more serious, putting individuals at risk for a number of complications that can affect overall health.
Being proactive and starting a tailored treatment strategy are critical steps to helping patients get the sleep they deserve. At Riverbend Sleep, Dr. Aldrich is a Diplomate of the American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine. Over the years, she’s helped many patients tackle their sleep apnea-related snoring with oral appliance therapy. By working hand in hand with patients’ physicians, our team is able to coordinate long-term treatment solutions and help patients achieve a better night’s rest.
The Three Types of Sleep Apnea
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA): The most common type of sleep apnea, OSA occurs when the muscles at the back of the throat relax too much during sleep, causing the throat to collapse and block the airway. Telltale signs of OSA include deep snoring, gasping or choking, and wheezing.
Central Sleep Apnea (CSA): While less common, CSA makes up nearly 20% of sleep apnea cases. Often, this condition is a more difficult to treat because it occurs when the signals between the brain and lungs are disrupted rather than when airflow is hindered. This causes sufferers to breathe very shallowly or stop breathing altogether during sleep.
Complex/Mixed Sleep Apnea: Complex sleep apnea cases are a combination of the other two forms of sleep apnea. As a result, treatment must include a means of keeping the airway open as well as correcting the broken signal between the brain and lungs. With each apneic episode, the brain partially awakens the patient to force breathing to resume.
While there is no singular cause for sleep apnea, there are a number of risk factors that can increase your likelihood of developing the condition. During your consultation with our qualified dentist, Dr. Aldrich will conduct a sleep evaluation and assessment to screen for signs of sleep apnea and determine what kind of further care is needed. By coordinating care with your physician, Dr. Aldrich can help you get a better night’s sleep by developing a treatment plan that fits your needs and lifestyle.