Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that occurs when a person’s breathing is interrupted during sleep. People with untreated sleep apnea stop breathing repeatedly during their sleep, sometimes hundreds of times. This means the brain (and the rest of the body) may not get enough oxygen and the person does not get sustained replenishing deep sleep.
Apnea – temporary cessation of breathing, especially during sleep
Healthy sleep is vital for physical and mental health. However, our understanding of sleep and brain function during sleep is relatively new. In fact, it was only in 1989 that the first book on sleep medicine was published. Historically, sleep apnea was overlooked by cardiologists, pulmonologists and otolaryngologists because they did not consider sleep as an important function to their patient’s health. The irony in sleep medicine is that generations of Dentist have been looking in the mouths of patients with sleep apnea without knowing of the disorder. Most often, Dentists are the only health care provider to looking the oral cavity. Thus, a dentist should have good knowledge of sleep apnea. Furthermore, this underscores the importance of a multidisciplinary approach. This is why Drs. Nugent and West works with you and your medical doctors to develop a management plan to help fight sleep apnea. Realistically, how much time do you get with your medical doctor? Usually the visits are super short because the medical doctor must see so many patients per hour to be profitable. New patients at Dr. Nugent’s office spend between one to two hours on their initial visit. Normal teeth cleaning appointments are scheduled for one hour. The visits are our office are not rushed so Dr. Nugent and his team have the time to screen for Sleep Apnea.
Drs. Nugent and West works as the quarterback between you and your medical doctor. He makes it easy to get screened for sleep apnea with a home sleep study. He works with you, your physician and your medical insurance to obtain the best outcome in treating obstructive sleep apnea.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea happens when something partly or completely blocks your upper airway during shut-eye. That makes your diaphragm and chest muscles work harder to open the obstructed airway and pull air into the lungs. Breathing usually resumes with a loud gasp, snort, or body jerk. You may not sleep well, but you probably won’t be aware that this is happening. The condition also reduces the flow of oxygen to the brain, heart and other vital organs.
Symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea:
- Daytime sleepiness or fatigue
- Trouble concentrating, forgetfulness, depression, or irritability
- Sore throat or dry mouth or when you wake up
- Headaches in the morning
- Night sweats
- Restlessness during sleep
- Waking up suddenly and feeling like you’re gasping or choking
- Trouble getting up in the mornings
If you share a bed with someone, they will probably notice the above signs before you do.
Let our team help you regain your health. Call us today to see how easy the processes is of getting you screened for Sleep Apnea.
The Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS) measures your general level of sleepiness. Your score can help you start a conversation with our office about your level of excessive sleepiness.
- 0 = Would never doze
- 1 = Slight chance of dozing
- 2 = Moderate chance of dozing
- 3 = High chance of dozing
0 – 10 Normal Range
10 – 12 Borderline
12 – 24 Abnormal