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Snoring & Sleep Apnea – Powell, OH


Learn More So You Can Sleep Better

A full night’s sleep is essential to your overall health. If you are well rested, you will feel good and be able to function at your best. According to statistics, approximately 25 million adults in the United States suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), and more than three times that number snore! At Powell Dental Sleep Solutions, we provide care to address these issues so that you can enjoy a safe and uninterrupted night’s sleep.

Why Choose Powell Dental Sleep Solutions for Snoring & Sleep Apnea Treatment?

  • Multiple treatment options under one roof
  • Custom-made sleep appliances
  • Quadruple board-certified doctor

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Sleeping man with airway animation on his profile

When a person has sleep apnea, they experience repeated pauses in breathing while asleep. This causes the body to go into “panic mode” and partially wake up to restore breathing, preventing someone from getting the deep, restful sleep they need to feel energized throughout the day. This is most often caused by the soft tissues in the mouth and throat relaxing into and blocking the airway, which is called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). These kinds of blockages can occur up to 100 times per hour, and in many cases, patients wake up completely unaware that they have occurred (though some wake up gasping or out of breath).

How Does Snoring Develop into Sleep Apnea?

Man sleeping with mouth open

The sound of snoring is produced from the upper airway of your throat and caused by loose and relaxed vibrating tissues during breathing. The sound may come from the soft palate and uvula, the back of the throat and tongue, or a combination. It is an indication that air is having difficulty passing through the airway. It may also be a sign that the person has an upper airway resistance or constriction, indicating a serious health condition called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). About 50% of snorers have OSA. It is possible that some persons may have OSA and not snore. Snoring is considered a precursor to Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome (UARS) and can often progress into Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).

What Are Some of The Signs & Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?

Frustrated man in bed holding head

Knowing if you might be suffering from sleep apnea in Powell isn’t always easy. For individuals with a partner who can express concern because of loud snoring or frequent episodes of ceased breathing, it typically does not take as long to achieve a formal diagnosis. However, if you live alone or do not know the various signs and symptoms that come with this common sleep disorder, our team at Powell Dental Sleep Solutions is here to help. With nearly 20 million people in the United States suffering from some form of sleep apnea, we believe the list provided below can help you to better identify problems you might be experiencing and, in turn, seek professional help to get the treatment you need.

Loud Snoring

Man snoring in Powell

There is a common misconception that if you snore, you have sleep apnea and vice versa. Yes, snoring is a common factor when it comes to diagnosing a sleep disorder but yours may only be due to sinus congestion or another external factor. However, if your snoring is loud and persistent, there is a good chance you have some form of sleep apnea. This type of snoring occurs when the throat collapses, causing your air passage to become narrow. 

Chronic Fatigue

Woman exhausted because lack of sleep in Powell

It should come as no surprise that sleep apnea causes chronic fatigue. When you are frequently interrupted as a result of your inability to breathe throughout the night, you will be unable to complete the full sleep cycle and wake feeling tired and groggy. As a result, this can negatively impact your personal and professional life.

Morning Headaches/Sore Throat

Woman with a headache in Powell

A headache at any time of day is troublesome; however, one that occurs when you first wake up can set a negative tone for the rest of your day. With sleep apnea, specifically OSA, carbon dioxide can cause your brain’s arteries to dilate when regular breathing does not occur. As pressure builds inside the skull, it can lead to a painful and bothersome headache when you wake up.

Memory Loss

Woman experiencing memory loss in Powell

You may not realize it but part of the sleep cycle that is necessary to function each day includes storing memories. Whether it was completing part of a project at work or watching your daughter at her dance recital, these are experiences your brain works to store while you’re sleeping. If sleep apnea prevents you from completing your sleep cycle, it becomes much harder to develop new memories, causing you to become more forgetful.

Inability to Focus

Woman unable to focus in Powell

If you struggle with insomnia as a result of your sleep apnea, you may notice a difference in your ability to focus on a particular task. This can have serious consequences when it comes to work and/or school. If the brain cannot identify which distractions should be avoided because of a lack of sleep, it is likely you are spending more time on your phone or reading a news article at your company than devoting time to your work or school assignments.

Mood Regulation/Depression

Woman feeling depressed in Powell

When you are unable to get the sleep you need because you cannot breathe properly, it will impact other areas of your life. Whether you no longer function at work like you used to or your relationships are suffering, these changes can ultimately affect your mood and lead to depression.

Gasping for Air/Out of Breath

Man gasping for air in Powell

One of the clear indicators that you need to see a sleep dentist in Powell is gasping for air or being out of breath when you wake throughout the night. Because of the collapse that occurs inside your oral cavity, a blockage forms, making it impossible for air to flow freely. Should you stop breathing, your body will be triggered by the brain to wake, causing you to gasp or feel out of breath.

Weight Gain/Weight Loss

Person measuring waist in Powell

It’s not uncommon to experience weight gain or weight loss while dealing with sleep apnea. Hormonal changes can occur when dealing with lack of sleep, causing your metabolism to work differently than before. If you find it hard to go back to sleep when waking from an apnea episode, you may turn to food, which can lead to weight gain and greater fat deposits around your neck.

Low Libido

Man struggling with low libido in Powell

When you’re constantly tired because you cannot achieve adequate rest, it’s highly unlikely you’ll be ready to engage in any sexual activity. Of course, it’s not just fatigue that causes both men and women to lack the desire for intimacy. Researchers have discovered that sexual dysfunction and loss of libido are quite common among those who suffer from serious cases of sleep apnea.

Bruxism (Teeth Grinding)

Woman grinding her teeth

It is believed that some patients who suffer from sleep apnea also experience problems associated with bruxism. Also known as teeth grinding or clenching, this can occur as a response to your body’s sudden awakening when triggered to breathe throughout the night. Because the brain must alert the body, it can cause a stress response that, in turn, causes you to grind your teeth.

High Blood Pressure

Man with high blood pressure in Powell

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is most commonly associated with high blood pressure. Because individuals with OSA can have one or hundreds of apnea episodes each night, the frequent waking causes blood pressure to rise and fall over and over again. As the heart becomes more strained due to a lack of sleep, the nervous system will cause the body to experience greater stress (i.e., faster heart rate, high blood pressure, etc.). As a result, this can lead to the development of cardiovascular disease.

How Can I Know If I Have Sleep Apnea?

Woman in dental chair looking at dentist

Most of the time, it’s a bed partner or family member that first notices the stoppages in breathing typically associated with sleep apnea. When a patient goes to see a doctor about this problem, they will recommend that they undergo a sleep study to determine the root cause of the issue. This will involve the patient sleeping while wearing a medical device to monitor their vital signs. After the study has concluded (which only involves one night of sleep), the results will be evaluated by a sleep doctor, who can then determine whether or not a patient has sleep apnea.

What Is AHI?

AHI result chart

This acronym represents a summarized measurement for types of breathing obstructions that meet certain criteria.

  • The ‘A’ represents ‘apnea,’ which means without breath or oxygen delivery for 10 seconds or longer.
  • The ‘H’ represents ‘hypopnea,’ which refers to abnormally slow or shallow breathing for 10 seconds or longer and a drop-in oxygenation by 4% or greater.
  • The ‘I’ indicates an ‘index’ that can be thought of like an overnight hourly average. It is calculated by adding the total number of apneas plus hypopneas and dividing that number by the total amount of hours slept to obtain the AHI.

“RERA’s” are sleep disordered breathing events that do not qualify as an apnea or hypopnea. They can fragment sleep and can cause poor sleep quality and inflammation, however, they are not counted within the AHI calculation. They may be calculated in a separate respiratory index report.

How AHI Relates to Sleep Apnea

Woman frustrated in bed with snoring man

An AHI between 0-4.9 events/hour is classified as normal, although these persons may have respiratory disturbance events that cause symptoms seen in OSA. Mild sleep apnea is an AHI of 5.0 to 14.9 events/hour, moderate is greater than or equal to 15 but less than 30 events/hour, and severe sleep apnea is greater than or equal to 30 events per hour.

Subtle breathing irregularities may briefly block the airway and cause your sleep to be interrupted. These respiratory events are included with the apnea and hypopnea events in the RDI (respiratory index) measurement, therefore the RDI may be higher than the AHI.

Oxygenation, Sleep, and Why It Matters

Man who can't sleep in bed

For a healthy person, a normal blood-oxygen saturation is between 96-99% at sea level. At night, our respiratory effort decreases, and oxygenation will dip lower than when awake. While small reductions are normal, those with sleep apnea can experience a drop in oxygenation that has many negative health effects. Reduction to not less than 90% is considered mild. However, dips into the 80-89% range are considered moderate, and those below 80% are severe.

When the body is deprived of oxygen, the heart rate and blood pressure increases, placing stress on the heart from activation of the nervous system. Chemicals are released into the blood that cause inflammation and promote elevations in blood sugar. This inflammation can damage the heart, kidneys, brain, and blood vessels, increasing the risk of heart disease, stroke, and obesity.

A sleep study can reveal the levels of oxygenation during your sleep. Additionally, it can give us clues as to how sleep deprivation and fragmentation may adversely affect your brain health, memory consolidation, and overall feelings of vitality.

The Different Types of Sleep Apnea

Person in lab coat writing sleep apnea

The three types are obstructive, central and mixed sleep apnea.

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the airway becomes repeatedly blocked. Central sleep apnea occurs when the respiratory center in the brainstem does not activate properly to alert the patient to breathe. Mixed sleep apnea is a combination of obstructive and central. Different types of apneas require specific types of treatments, and your sleep physician can determine which one you have based on a sleep study.

What Is the Treatment for Sleep Apnea?

Closeup of smile with oral appliance in place

As we touched on above, there are various types of sleep apnea, and the specific type or combination of types determines the treatment options available to a patient. The most common and gold standard treatment for OSA is positive airway pressure treatment (PAP), which may be referred to as CPAP, Bi-PAP or Auto-PAP. They all work by delivering pressurized air through a nasal or face mask to keep the airway open throughout the night.

In cases of mild or moderate obstructive sleep apnea, an oral appliance can be designed to advance the lower jaw and keep the tongue and soft tissues in the back of the throat from collapsing, thereby enabling the airway to remain open while sleeping. These appliances are easy to wear, easy to care for, and are comfortable as well as portable.

In cases where a patient is PAP intolerant, an oral appliance can serve as a viable alternative. In 2015, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) and the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM) updated treatment guidelines and recommendations for oral appliance therapy versus CPAP therapy.

In summary, they said that either oral appliance therapy (OAT), CPAP therapy, or InspireUAS therapy can be considered as appropriate first-line treatments for upper airway resistance or mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea and snoring. This suggests that either may be offered as an effective therapy based on a patient’s preference, although PAP therapy is still recognized as the gold standard. Oral appliance therapy should be considered as an appropriate first line option for patients with mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea and snoring, or if a patient refuses, is intolerant, or finds CPAP therapy ineffective, even if severe.

And, if neither of these options are effective, corrective surgery is another available treatment. This is normally used only if a patient has a physical obstruction in their airway, such as a deviated septum or a large set of tonsils, adenoids, or a bigger than average uvula.