Sleep Apnea And Snore Guards Specialist

University Oaks Dental -  - Dentist

University Oaks Dental

Dentist located in Houston, TX

While your snoring may not bother you as much as it does your housemates, it could signal a common and potentially serious medical condition — sleep apnea. Carol Alvarado, DMD, is a well-respected and highly skilled dentist who leads the team at University Oaks Dental in Houston. She has extensive experience in fitting patients who have sleep apnea with oral appliances that can open their airways and help them sleep better. Call the office or go online to book your visit today.

Sleep Apnea and Snore Guards Q & A

University Oaks Dental

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder that causes you to stop breathing repeatedly during sleep.

The three main types of sleep apnea are:

  • Obstructive sleep apnea, which is the most common and occurs when your throat muscles relax as you sleep and restrict your airways
  • Central sleep apnea, which is often linked to underlying issues such as congestive heart failure and occurs when your brain doesn't send the right signals to the muscles that control your breathing
  • Complex sleep apnea, which is a combination of obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea

What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?

Regardless of the type of sleep apnea you have, the most common symptoms often overlap and may include:

  • Restless sleep with pauses in breathing that may or may not wake you
  • Loud snoring, though this is not always a sign that you have sleep apnea
  • Abrupt awakening that’s accompanied by shortness of breath
  • Waking up with a dry mouth or sore throat
  • Morning headaches, irritability, and trouble remaining focused during the day
  • Difficulty staying asleep and excessive daytime sleepiness

Along with sleep-deprived partners, the potential complications associated with sleep apnea include:

  • High blood pressure and heart problems
  • Liver issues
  • Type 2 diabetes

How can a dentist help with sleep apnea?

It’s important to know what kind of sleep apnea you have —  obstructive, central or complex — and whether other conditions that need medical treatment are affecting your breathing, so see your physician first.

If your physician determines obstructive sleep apnea is interfering with your sleep, Dr. Alvarado can fit you for an oral appliance — sometimes called a snore guard — that may help prevent the airway restriction responsible for this condition.

An oral appliance designed to treat obstructive sleep apnea works by shifting the jaw forward very slightly and providing support that prevents your airway from collapsing. Research shows that these appliances can provide successful treatment for mild to moderate sleep apnea.

Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines are also often prescribed for obstructive sleep apnea. Unfortunately, these machines can be noisy, cumbersome, and sometimes difficult to tolerate on a nightly basis. Many individuals find that an oral appliance fitted by a dentist is a comfortable and very effective alternative to a CPAP machine.

It’s also important to note that an oral appliance may be useful even when sleep apnea doesn't cause your snoring.

If you suspect you have sleep apnea, contact Dr. Alvarado and her friendly team at University Oaks Dental by calling or going online today.