People with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) have disrupted sleep and low blood oxygen levels. When obstructive sleep apnea occurs, the tongue is sucked against the back of the throat. This blocks the upper airway and airflow stops. When the oxygen level in the brain becomes low enough, the sleeper partially awakens, the obstruction in the throat clears, and the flow of air starts again, usually with a loud gasp.
Repeated cycles of decreased oxygenation lead to very serious cardiovascular problems. Additionally, these individuals suffer from excessive daytime sleepiness, depression, and loss of concentration. OSA is a very serious condition that needs careful attention and treatment.
Some patients have obstructions that are less severe called Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome (UARS). In either case, the individuals suffer many of the same symptoms.
The first step in treatment resides in recognition of the symptoms and seeking appropriate consultation. As a dentist with advanced training in the management of OSA, Dr. Gupta can offer sleep apnea consultation appointments.
In addition to a detailed history, doctors may need to assess anatomic relationships in the maxillofacial region. Sometimes special imaging is needed to help with the analysis so doctors can ascertain the level of obstruction. At times, your medical team may need to conduct a naso-pharyngeal exam is done with a flexible fiber-optic camera. To confirm the amount of cardiovascular compromise and decreased oxygenation levels, a sleep study may be recommended to monitor an individual overnight.
Although the diagnosis of sleep disorders falls within the scope of practice of medicine, once the diagnosis is established, several treatment options are available. Often patients first try nasal CPAP machines as treatment. The CPAP works by delivering pressurized oxygen through a nasal mask to limit obstruction at night. However, not everyone tolerates CPAP machines and prefer an alternative instead. Oral appliances known as Mandibular Advancement Devices (MAD) are recognized by the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM) and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine as an acceptable alternative, particularly in cases of mild to moderate OSA.
MAD is a type of an oral appliance which works by repositioning your lower jaw in a more forward position, thereby opening your airway to make breathing easier. Just as each patient is unique, the best jaw position for each patient is unique. Once the OSA is satisfactorily managed, Dr. Gupta and her team will continue to follow-up on your progress with routine checkups.
Does anyone in your family snore or have been diagnosed with sleep apnea?
Do you have children who snore?
Do you wake up feeling tired?
Do you or a bed partner wake up gasping or choking?
Do you use the restroom more than once per night?
Do you fall asleep at inappropriate times?
Do you wake up with headaches?
Do you sleep with more than two pillows?
Do you fall sleep within 5 minutes?
Do you sleep sitting up?
Do you stay on the go all day and then crash?
Sleep apnea is a serious health risk and possibly can cause heart attacks or other serious medical conditions.
Call to schedule your SLEEP APNEA CONSULTATION