Sleep Apnea

Pittsburgh Sleep & Smile

Nancy Aharon, DDS

Dentist located in Turtle Creek, PA & Forrest Hills, Pittsburgh, PA

Sleep apnea is a condition that disrupts your sleep because your breathing stops and starts repeatedly. Left untreated, it can endanger your overall health. Dr. Nancy Aharon helps residents of the Turtle Creek and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, communities restore healthy, regular breathing during sleep. Call Pittsburgh Sleep & Smile or book an appointment online today to put an end to sleep apnea once and for all.

Sleep Apnea Q & A

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a disorder that occurs when your breathing is repeatedly interrupted during sleep. When you stop breathing, your brain is not getting enough oxygen, which can lead to severe issues, such as:

  • Hypertension
  • Stroke
  • Heart failure
  • Diabetes
  • Depression

There are two types of sleep apnea:

  • Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when throat muscles relax
  • Central sleep apnea happens when the brain doesn’t properly signal your muscles to relax

What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea has multiple symptoms, and they often overlap. Symptoms include:

  • Loud snoring
  • Intermittent breathing
  • Waking up abruptly with problems breathing
  • Dry mouth or sore throat
  • Headache upon waking up
  • Insomnia
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Irritability and attention problems

What are the causes of sleep apnea?

The causes of sleep apnea include:

  • Obesity
  • Large tonsils
  • Endocrine disorders
  • Certain genetic syndromes
  • Premature birth

How do you treat sleep apnea?  

Pittsburgh Sleep & Smile specializes in providing their patients with individualized solutions to sleep apnea. Dr. Aharon performs a sleep study to determine how severe the apnea is and determine the proper course of treatment.

Most commonly, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) devices are used to help alleviate sleep apnea symptoms. This device administers pressurized air through a mask into the respiratory system. However, various forms of dental mouthpieces and devices work to solve the same issues as CPAPs, with less inconveniences and more demonstrated results.

How do dental devices work?

The team at Arahon & Associates recommends two types of dental devices:

  • Mandibular advancement devices: These are very similar to a mouth guard and fit into the mouth easily to push the lower jaw and tongue slightly forward. In doing so, mandibular advancement devices prevent the throat muscles from collapsing and causing breathing issues.
  • Tongue retaining mouthpieces: These mouthpieces are similar to mandibular advancement devices, but also feature a small compartment that holds the tongue forward. That way, it doesn’t collapse back into the airway.

Are dental devices better?

Patients have reported that dental devices are more comfortable than CPAP masks. These devices don’t pulse pressurized air into your sinuses, so you’re less likely to experience the dryness and itchiness provoked by CPAP masks.

Dental devices are also small and not cumbersome. That means that if you move a lot during sleep, you won’t have to worry about getting entangled with a pressurized air machine.

Contact Pittsburgh Sleep & Smile immediately if you feel you’re experiencing sleep apnea.