Sleep apnea occurs when you stop breathing for short periods throughout the night. These pauses in breathing can happen a few times an hour or, in more severe cases, hundreds of times a night. Sleep apnea can result in loud snoring, choking, and/or gasping sounds, though every case is different.
Sleep Apnea Symptoms
People can suffer from excessive daytime sleepiness, not feeling rested in the mornings, and high blood pressure, along with a multitude of other symptoms. Sometimes people say they take a bit to get going but feel really good in the morning after two or three cups of coffee. If you need something to get you kickstarted in the morning, you’re sleep deprived and may suffer from sleep apnea.
Types of Sleep Apnea
- Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common and is caused by something physical, like your tongue or soft palate, blocking the airway at night.
- Central sleep apnea is when your brain fails to send the proper signal to your body to continue to breathe throughout the night.
- Complex sleep apnea syndrome is when you have both obstructive and central sleep apnea.
Sleep Apnea Screening
Drs. Fugere, LeClair and Billingsley start by a simple screening that happens at your regular dental exam and cleaning at our Poulsbo dental office, where we look for some of the signs of sleep apnea. If we suspect further investigation is warranted, we have you fill out a simple, one-page screening with questions to determine your symptoms. Depending on the results of that screening, we may recommend you have a comfortable home sleep study that will be read by a sleep physician to determine if you have sleep apnea and what treatment may be beneficial for you.
Oral Appliance Treatment
If warranted, Drs. Fugere, LeClair and Billingsley can fabricate a custom-made sleep appliance. This is a device, like a night guard, that clips to your upper and lower teeth and gently guides your jaw forward at night, thus opening your airway and allowing you to breathe more freely at night.
At Fernwood Family Dental, we want to know if you’re going to respond well to our oral appliance before you put any time or money into making one. This is why we have a piece of technology called the Zephyr MATRx Plus™. This technology allows us to test an oral appliance while doing a sleep study, all while in your own bed. The MATRx Plus will tell us where the oral appliance is most effective for you and more importantly, if it will be effective at all for you. Our clinic has invested in this innovative technology to give you the best possible treatment and to not waste your time and money if it will not be effective.