Sleep Apnea

Sterling Ridge Cosmetic & Family Dentistry

Erica K. Cummings, DDS, FAGD

General and Cosmetic Dentistry located in The Woodlands, TX

Not only does loud snoring make it difficult to sleep well during the night, but it is also a sign that you may be suffering from sleep apnea, a dangerous condition that prevents you from getting the oxygen you need during sleep. If your snoring is keeping you or your family up at night, Erica K. Cummings, DDS, FAGD, at Sterling Ridge Cosmetic & Family Dentistry in The Woodlands, Texas, can help determine whether you are suffering from sleep apnea and create an individualized treatment plan to alleviate your symptoms. Call or book an appointment online today to learn more.

Sleep Apnea Q & A

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a serious condition in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts, often hundreds of times a night. There are three main types of sleep apnea including:

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)

OSA occurs when the muscles and soft tissue in the back of your throat relax and collapse during sleep, blocking your airway and causing loud snoring.

Central sleep apnea

Unlike OSA, this sleep apnea is not caused by a blockage in the back of the throat. Instead, it occurs when the brain fails to signal to your muscles to breathe during sleep. There are many reasons central sleep apnea develops, but the most common are stroke, brain infection, and severe obesity.

Complex sleep apnea

Complex sleep apnea happens when a patient has both OSA and central sleep apnea at the same time.

Which sleep apnea symptoms should I look out for?

Many patients don’t realize they have sleep apnea until a partner, roommate, or relative comments on their very loud snoring. However, the most common symptoms of sleep apnea are:

  • Loud snoring
  • Sore throat in the morning
  • Daytime fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Gasping for air during the night
  • Dry mouth in the morning
  • Morning headaches
  • Irritability

Chronic snoring is the most telltale sign of sleep apnea. Talk to your doctor right away if you think you may be suffering from this potentially dangerous condition.

What are my sleep apnea treatment options?

Dental appliances

Similar in appearance to a mouth guard, a mandibular advancement device (MAD) attaches to your upper and lower arches to gently push your jaw forward, opening up your airway and preventing your throat muscles and soft tissue from collapsing. Likewise, a tongue retaining device is used to hold your tongue down during sleep, stopping airway blockages before they begin.

Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP)

The most effective treatment for sleep apnea, a CPAP machine connects to a mask that fits over your mouth and nose at night. To ensure you don’t stop breathing throughout the night, the CPAP continuously flows oxygen into your body.

What happens if I don’t treat my sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a dangerous condition that puts you at risk of a number of serious health problems, such as:

  • Heart disease
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Heart attack
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Low blood oxygen

Dr. Cummings creates the right treatment plan for your sleep apnea symptoms. She has spent years studying and practicing sleep dentistry and has the expertise you need to stop your snoring and help you finally get a restful night’s sleep.

Sleep apnea is a serious condition that impacts your sleep quality and overall health. To learn more about the sleep apnea services offered by Sterling Ridge Cosmetic & Family Dentistry, call or book an appointment online today.