Snoring and sleep apnea are two of the most common sleep disorders affecting millions of people today. While most will consider snoring an annoying sleep “habit”, it can often signal a more serious underlying health issue known as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
OSA can increase the risk or severity of major health concerns such as cardiovascular and systemic disease.
Annapolis dentist Dr. Maria Colucciello works with patients to diagnose and treat sleep disorders. As a dentist, she has intimate and extensive knowledge and understanding of the facial structures and oral cavity, enabling her to provide treatment focused on the cause of snoring or sleep apnea.
Sleep Apnea: Signs & Symptoms
During your visit, Dr. Colucciello will review your medical history and discuss some of the signs that could indicate a sleep breathing disorder. Common signs include:
- Daytime sleepiness and the tendency to fall asleep while reading, watching television or driving
- Loud snoring
- Gasping while sleeping
- Dry mouth
- Morning headaches
- Problems with concentration, mood and mental clarity
Sleep Apnea: Diagnosis and Treatment
Diagnosing a sleep-related breathing disorder such as OSA typically involves the dentist as well as the patient’s physician and/or other specialists. Diagnostic imaging such as x-rays may be done to examine the airway and look for signs of blockage. A sleep study may be performed, either at home or at a specialist’s office, to evaluate the quality of sleep.
Treatment for snoring and/or OSA will be tailored to your unique health needs and symptoms. Certain lifestyle changes can help to alleviate the symptoms of OSA including weight loss, smoking cessation and eliminating alcohol and sedative use. The CPAP is the gold standard treatment for sleep apnea, but often has a poor compliance level, because people find it to be uncomfortable and inconvenient.
An oral appliance has shown to be the preferred treatment among most patients. An oral appliance is small, discreet and comfortable to wear. Dr. Colucciello can fabricate a custom made sleep apnea appliance, similar to a sports mouth guard, for you to wear during sleep. Most patients are able to speak normally and consume liquids easily while wearing their oral appliance. The higher rate of compliance will lead to a reduction in symptoms and better health.
Schedule A Consultation
If you are concerned that you or your partner may have a sleep disorder, schedule a visit with Dr. Colucciello in her Annapolis dentist office. Treating a sleep disorder as soon as possible can significantly reduce the associated health risks and improve your quality of life.