Sleep Apnea

At Smile Makers Dental Center, we understand the paramount importance of a good night’s sleep and how it lays the foundation for a healthy, happy life. When sleep apnea is the unseen culprit stealing your peaceful nights and draining your daytime energy, our dedicated Tysons, VA team steps in, providing not just solutions but a sanctuary where your sleep health is prioritized, understood, and, most importantly, restored.

Understanding Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that occurs when a person’s breathing is interrupted during sleep. This condition affects millions of people worldwide, and if left untreated, it can lead to a number of health complications, including high blood pressure, stroke, heart failure, diabetes, and depression. 

Here at Smile Makers Dental Center, our adept team members, led by Dr. Rashmi Kolichala, navigate through these nocturnal disturbances, ensuring you grasp the importance of treating sleep apnea and find a treatment that works for you.

Types of Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea can be classified into three primary categories:

Obstructive Sleep Apnea
This is the most common type, and it occurs when the soft tissue in the back of your throat relaxes during sleep and blocks the airway, causing breathing pauses or “apneas.”

Central Sleep Apnea 
Unlike obstructive sleep apnea, this type is not due to a blocked airway but occurs when the brain fails to signal the muscles to breathe due to instability in the respiratory control center.

Complex Sleep Apnea Syndrome
This type, also known as treatment-emergent central sleep apnea, occurs when someone has both obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

The most common symptoms of sleep apnea include:

  • Loud and chronic snoring
  • Choking, snorting, or gasping during sleep
  • Long pauses in breathing
  • Daytime sleepiness or fatigue
  • Restless sleep
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability or depression
  • Morning headaches
  • Sore throat or dry mouth upon awakening
  • Frequent urination at night
  • High blood pressure
  • Night sweats

Risk Factors

Sleep apnea can affect anyone, regardless of gender or age. However, certain factors increase the risk:

  • Overweight or obesity
  • Neck circumference (Those with thicker necks might have narrower airways.)
  • A narrowed airway (You might have inherited a narrow throat. Tonsils or adenoids can also enlarge and block the airway.)
  • Being male
  • Being older
  • Family history of sleep apnea
  • Use of alcohol, sedatives or tranquilizers
  • Smoking
  • Nasal congestion

Diagnosis & Treatment

If you suspect you have sleep apnea, a sleep specialist can conduct an overnight sleep study, either at a sleep center or at home, using a portable device. The study measures your heart, lung, and brain activity, breathing patterns, arm and leg movements, and blood oxygen levels while you sleep.

Once diagnosed, our team can offer treatment for sleep apnea, depending on the severity of the condition. 

  • Mild cases often respond well to lifestyle changes such as losing weight, quitting smoking, or avoiding alcohol and sleeping pills.
  •  For moderate to severe cases, we may recommend continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy, which involves wearing a mask over your nose and/or mouth while you sleep. The mask is connected to a machine that delivers a continuous flow of air to help keep your airways open.
  • As a less invasive option to CPAP therapy, our team may offer oral appliance therapy as a treatment for obstructive sleep apnea. Oral appliance therapy utilizes a small mouthpiece that patients wear while sleeping. The appliance shifts the position of the jaw and stabilizes the soft tissue — allowing the airway to remain open during sleep.

Living With Sleep Apnea

Living with sleep apnea can be challenging, but with the right treatment and lifestyle changes, most people with this disorder lead normal, healthy lives. It’s essential to follow your treatment plan and maintain regular check-ups with your healthcare provider. 

Remember, sleep apnea is not just a nuisance; it’s a serious health disorder that requires medical attention. If you suspect you have sleep apnea, speak with your healthcare provider to discuss your symptoms and schedule a sleep study.

A Promise of Peaceful Nights

Choosing Smile Makers Dental Center is choosing a practice where your sleep is cherished and guarded with unwavering commitment and unparalleled expertise. Here, we don’t just restore your sleep; we rebuild your mornings, adding vitality to your days and ensuring that every night is a journey toward rejuvenation, not disruption. If you are suffering from sleep apnea, contact our office today.

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