Stop Snoring, Get More Rest! Sleep Apnea Treatment in Worthington

man laying in bedDo you find yourself waking up multiple times in the middle of the night? Are you struggling to get a good night’s sleep and waking up tired every morning, even after getting to bed earlier than usual? If this sounds like you, then you should know that you are not the only one with symptoms tied to sleep apnea. According to the American Sleep Apnea Association, 22 million Americans suffer from this condition.

What’s even more worrisome is that around 80 percent of cases of moderate to severe sleep apnea go undiagnosed. Therefore, it’s essential to know its symptoms so you know when it’s time to seek treatment. If you believe you may be suffering from sleep apnea, contact your medical doctor and Dr. Carolyn Molzahn as soon as possible.

What is Sleep Apnea?

A man yawning after a poor night’s sleepTechnically there are three different forms of sleep apnea, but the most common form is obstructive sleep apnea. Also known as OSA, this type is caused by a blockage of the airway, typically when the tongue rests against the soft palate, which pushes the soft palate against the back of the throat. This prevents the patient from breathing for a brief period of time during sleep, usually around 10 seconds.

As a result, air cannot properly flow to the lungs, which in turn raises the body’s heart rate and sends a signal to the brain to jumpstart breathing. This causes patients to start coughing and/or gasping for air, forcing them awake.

The main risk of obstructive sleep apnea is not necessarily the apnea events themselves, but the inability to achieve a very important regenerative stage of sleep known as rapid eye movement sleep, or REM. This deep sleep state is responsible for rejuvenating the body, helping you maintain long-term memory, and making you feel refreshed after a full night of sleep.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?

A man yawning in his car while holding a cup of coffee.Sleep apnea often goes undiagnosed because its symptoms are not always easy to recognize. Many people just assume they had a difficult night sleeping and aren’t experiencing a debilitating condition. However, if any of the following symptoms become reoccurring, you’ll need to inform your medical doctor and Dr. Molzahn right away.

Oral Appliance Therapy for Sleep Apnea

oral appliance in mouthIf you’re unsure whether you have sleep apnea, Dr. Molzahn will refer you to a doctor who specializes in performing sleep studies. A sleep study is meant to analyze patterns during sleep and confirm whether sleep apnea is present or not. If patterns appear showing the presence of sleep apnea, your dentist can move on to the next stage of treatment.

Many patients utilize a continuous positive airway pressure machine (CPAP) to gently force air into the mouth, therefore reducing any present blockage preventing proper airflow. However, it’s common for patients to find the use of the CPAP machine difficult or claustrophobic, causing them to discontinue its use quickly after being prescribed.

Fortunately, there are other options for sleep apnea treatment in Worthington without the use of bulky breathing devices. These include custom-made oral appliances that work to remove the blockage from your throat, helping you breathe normally. By repositioning the jaw forward and increasing the size of the upper airway, an oral appliance can reduce the symptoms associated with sleep apnea, including chronic snoring, choking while sleeping, and daytime sleepiness.

Patients who find the use of CPAP machine difficult or who travel frequently will find many benefits from an oral appliance over CPAP devices. If you’re tired of being exhausted throughout the day and need a better solution for sleep apnea, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with your dentist in Worthington. She’ll work with you and other medical professionals in the area to get your sleep schedule back on track!

Sleep Apnea FAQs

A woman lying in bed unable to rest because of her insomnia caused by sleep apnea

If you are suffering from symptoms closely associated with sleep apnea in Worthington, you’re not alone. Waking consistently throughout the night, dealing with frequent headaches, struggling to remember things, and feeling chronically fatigued day-in and day-out is exhausting. Fortunately, Dr. Molzahn and our team are here to provide proven and successful treatment that will help you to breathe easier and rest better. But before we move forward, it’s important that you are confident in your decision to choose sleep apnea therapy, which is why we’ve compiled some frequently asked questions for you to review. If you do not see yours listed below, contact us and we can discuss further during an appointment.

How can sleep apnea lead to cardiovascular problems?

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common form of sleep apnea. Causing you to experience one or even 100 episodes each night, OSA can lead to serious health problems if left untreated. One of the most prominent is cardiovascular disease. Each time you stop breathing throughout the night, your heart rate increases, and your blood pressure rises. Your brain must thing trigger your body to breathe. As a result, this can cause you to wake gasping or choking for air. Because this can happen multiple times each night, it places a lot of stress on your heart, which can eventually lead to a stroke, heart attack, or heart failure.

I snore, does that mean I have sleep apnea?

No, just because you snore does not mean you have sleep apnea. Although it is a common symptom, the truth is that the reason for your snoring could be caused by your weight, medications you may be taking, age, or even sinus congestion. If you smoke or drink alcohol excessively, this, too, can cause snoring to occur. If you are living with a partner or spouse who can determine if you just snore throughout the night or if you stop breathing, you can better gauge whether you might be suffering from OSA.

Will dental insurance cover my sleep apnea treatment?

It is not normal for dental insurance to cover sleep apnea therapy. Although it would seem to make more sense to file with your dental insurance company, the reality is that this is a medical issue that requires filing with your health insurance. When seeing a dentist in Worthington about oral appliance therapy, you can count on our team to carefully review your treatment plan and complete the documentation needed for insurance coverage approval. Because it must be “medically necessary” to undergo oral appliance therapy, we will take careful precautions to make sure all information is filled out correctly so that you can move forward with treatment without the added financial worry.

Is there anything I can do at home to alleviate my symptoms?

Although sleep apnea is not a condition that typically just goes away, there are things you can do to minimize the symptoms and improve your quality of life. In addition to receiving oral appliance therapy by Dr. Molzahn, you can also:

  • Find cessation resources or join a support group to quit smoking and using tobacco products
  • Avoid drinking alcohol or significantly reduce your intake frequency
  • Start exercising more often to help lose unwanted pounds
  • Adopt a healthier diet that consists of fruits, vegetables, lean protein, leafy greens, and dairy, and limit the consumption of sugars and starches
  • Talk to a counselor if you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed
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