Common symptoms of Sleep Apnea and the importance of seeking prompt treatment

Occasional snoring is common and usually not a cause for concern. But habitual snorers, commonly defined as those who snore for three or more nights in a given week, may have an underlying condition that requires prompt care, such as obstructive sleep apnea. And even “primary” snorers, those whose snoring is not secondary to a medical condition, should seek out the expertise of Dr. David A. Lamothe of Smyrna Dental in Smyrna, Georgia. 

Routine snoring can be quite destructive to our patients’ relationships with their partners and other family members. While the snorer may sleep through the night, others in the household may struggle to get a good night’s rest due to that persistent, grating, and disruptive sound. 

The root of the problem 

Snoring is defined as the sound made when the air that passes through your throat vibrates against the tongue, palate, and surrounding tissues and is among the most common ways that obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) manifests itself. However, when those with OSA snore, the sound produced may be particularly loud and raucous. Notably, OSA sufferers also have noticeable pauses in their breathing, and snoring may stop for a while. This is a particularly scary situation because the individual with OSA stops breathing in these moments. These pauses last 10 seconds or longer and repeatedly occur dozens of times throughout the night. 

And so here is the distinction between “simple” snoring and something more nefarious: apnea. The latter condition is caused by oral tissues which relax to such a degree that they block the airway. As a result, air can’t pass through, and OSA patients are unable to breathe throughout the night. This process can be quite startling for partners. In fact, the patient may even not realize they are struggling to breathe throughout the night yet, their spouse or partner sees that struggle — time and again, the sufferer awakens with a loud gasp and a snort.

Symptoms of sleep apnea

Since patients are unable to enjoy quality rest, they often experience a range of symptoms that also affect the quality of their lives. Potential alarm bells for OSA include: 

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Irritability and mood changes 
  • Frequent sore throat and hoarseness
  • Chronic headaches 
  • Dry mouth 
  • Memory impairment and other cognitive challenges

In addition to increasing the risk of on-the-job and road accidents due to persistent fatigue, obstructive sleep apnea also places significant strain on the heart and other organs. Patients with OSA are at increased risk of developing hypertension, abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias), stroke, and sudden death. We are not telling you all of this to scare you — we encourage you to reach out to our team immediately should this resonate with you or a loved one. We at Smyrna Dental can work in tandem with your family physician, sleep specialist, and other members of your health care team to pinpoint the true nature of your troubling symptoms.

According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine in 2006, dentists are uniquely qualified to be on the front line in the fight against mild-to-moderate sleep apnea and sleep disordered breathing. With an accurate diagnosis in hand, our dental team has the advanced training in sleep medicine to develop an effective treatment plan for those with mild-to-moderate sleep apnea.   Serious symptoms and conditions associated with sleep apnea can be resolved promptly, and complications are avoided.

Treatment options

Treatment plans are based on the presence of sleep apnea, the type of apnea, and the severity of the condition.  A few of the many options that are available to those with diagnosed mild-to-moderate sleep apnea include: 

  • Oral appliance therapy: Custom appliances, such as mandibular advancement devices, are worn to reposition the jaw and adjust the tissues. So, they no longer block the airway during sleep.
  • Lifestyle adjustments: We work with patients to minimize or eliminate the factors associated with an increased risk of developing sleep apnea. For instance, moderate weight loss can ease airway constriction considerably.

For those with more advanced sleep apnea, CPAP therapy, continuous positive airway pressure, may be prescribed by a medical sleep specialist.  With CPAP therapy, air is delivered as a patient sleeps via a nasal mask connected to a CPAP machine. However, patients who can’t get used to CPAP therapy may also benefit from a discreet and easy-to-wear oral appliance as prescribed by Dr. Lamothe at the Smyrna Dental and Headache Center.

Treatment for sleep apnea in Smyrna, GA

We look forward to discussing your options to get healthy and restore a good night’s sleep. Contact Smyrna Dental at (678) 374-3764 to schedule an appointment today. You should never “sleep” on getting the care you or a family member needs to resolve sleep-disordered breathing! 

VIVOS is the solution to restoring a good night's sleep for you!

VIVOS Sleep Apnea

I really feel like VIVOs is one of the great answers to the healthcare crisis that’s in America because we’re getting to the root cause of what ails a lot of us and that is not breathing well and not sleeping well. If you trace back the journey of a Sleep Apnea patient, that patient is suffering for years before they ever get diagnosed. Once they are diagnosed, they’re presented really with two fundamental options. You can go into CPAP and wear a contraption over your face, every night for the rest of your life or you can have what’s called a mandibular advancement device which will actually protrude your lower jaw in an unnatural position to hold your airway open while you sleep and you can wear that for the rest of your life. Either of those two modalities are going to present that patient with a life sentence of having to wear this contraption one or the other for every night for the rest of their life. The interesting thing about CPAP and oral appliances is although they’re very effective treatments if they’re used over a lifetime the person’s condition actually gets worse over time. Along comes VIVOs and says wait a minute we have a better option that’s all natural non-invasive non-pharmaceutical. We can say to a patient you go into this oral appliance therapy with our protocols and you go through this treatment for 12 to 24 months and at the end of that time, there’s a highly high probability that you will no longer have to wear an appliance or any kind of device. Vivo’s is literally changing my patients’ lives. It has drastically changed my life. I don’t have to use the CPAP anymore. Within just a couple weeks of using the appliance I was able to breathe through both nostrils. Something I couldn’t do my entire life. This was revolutionary. Pretty much made me feel excited about life again. She’s sleeping better. I’m sleeping better you really feel like you’ve been given a new life. It’s amazing I wake up and I’m not in pain. Because she’s sleeping better is her attitude during the day is better. I have a better quality of life now. I can’t say enough good about it. I’m getting instant benefit from it I was amazed I dreamed every night for two weeks straight and I told my wife I said it’s amazing. I feel sharp now I don’t I don’t feel drowsy all the time. It’s been a long time since I felt this good. I wouldn’t lay down and try to sleep right now without my VIVOs device. My asthma has gotten much, much, better. Without the VIVOs I wouldn’t be outside right now. There’s no numerical value you can put on this kind of a change. I smile and I haven’t smiled for a long time. Right after I started using it I noticed the results really especially with the snoring. My sleep apnea episodes are a fraction of what they were before. This product’s phenomenal it’s it changed my life. It’s a very comfortable process but I can see dramatic differences. Now I can really open my mouth, before it would almost always click. His ADHD is calming down he’s doing better in school I can definitely see the difference in the change in him. It’s a miracle. I get to do things now that I would not have been able to. I would not hesitate to do it again. I am 100 percent happy that I did this and I am thankful every day that I have it because I can breathe. We bring hope to the millions of people and the millions of families men women and children who suffer from this disease. It promotes the body’s own ability to heal itself because now the body can breathe and sleep well. That’s exciting.

Dr. David Lamothe

Dr. David Lamothe at Smyrna Dental is dedicated to helping patients get back their confidence with a healthy and a happy smile. He provides services ranging from cosmetic and restorative dentistry with the help of the latest digital technology and equipment. With treatment options such as dental crowns, bridges, and full mouth reconstruction, Dr. Lamothe will help regain the smile you have always dreamed of.

Dr. Lamothe earned his dentistry degree from the University of Texas Dental Branch. He pursued to advance his knowledge with practice and continuous education through dental courses specializing in restorative and cosmetic dental techniques. Due to his years of expertise and skills, he is valued as a member of the National Dental Association and prestigious dental associations.