Sleep Apnea in Atlanta
As the name suggests, Atlanta Smiles & Wellness is not only invested in the beauty of your smile, but in your overall health and wellness as well. Led by Drs. Dina Giesler and Marianna Kovitch, our dental team offers an array of treatments and solutions for complex health issues, including sleep apnea. Characterized by the cessations of breath during sleep, sleep apnea is a common condition that affects an individual’s ability to get a good night’s rest. If left untreated, sleep apnea can have serious health effects.
Dr. Kovitch is an active member of the Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine and works closely with many sleep physicians in Atlanta to provide the best options for patients. If you suspect sleep apnea is causing you to lose out on sleep, reach out to our dental office in Atlanta to learn about your treatment options.
About Sleep Apnea
There are several types of sleep apnea, the most common being obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). OSA occurs when the airway is blocked by excessive tissue in the back of the tongue, throat or nose, compromising the natural breathing pattern. Sleep apnea can interfere not only with sleep but also with daily life. For instance, many people with sleep apnea experience daytime fatigue, which can affect proper cognitive function and increase the risk of vehicle accidents and workplace accidents. Numerous studies have found that individuals with sleep apnea have a higher risk of developing heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and other serious health conditions. One study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that patients with obstructive sleep apnea have an increased risk of having a heart attack between the hours of 12 a.m. and 6 a.m., which are typically sleeping hours.
Symptoms among sleep apnea patients vary but a poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation found that 75 percent of all adult patients reported experiencing one of the following symptoms:
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Problems with memory or concentration
- Mood swings
- Decrease in attentiveness and energy
- Weight gain
- Heartburn or sore throat in the morning
- Headaches (especially in the morning)
- Gasping for air in the middle of the night
Researchers estimate that 10 million Americans are unaware that they have sleep apnea. For this reason, it is important for everyone to be aware of risk factors associated with condition. Common risk factors include diabetes, obesity, smoking and increased blood pressure.
Diagnosing Sleep Apnea
Because some of these symptoms can occur on their own or as a result of another health condition, some people may not know they have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is diagnosed via a sleep specialist. The specialist will have you enroll in a sleep study, which can be conducted at home. During the sleep study, a device will record your brain activity, eye movements, heart rate, breathing pattern and snoring. The specialist will evaluate this information, paying close attention to the number of breathing cessations during your sleep, which will determine the presence and severity of your sleep apnea.
The most widely used treatment option for sleep apnea is the CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine. Patients wear a mask over their nose (and possibly the mouth, depending on the type of machine used) as they sleep. The CPAP machine delivers a continual flow of pressurized air into the throat and keeps the airway passage open. This prevents cessations in breath, choking and snoring.
But although effective, research shows many sleep apnea patients do not use their CPAP machines regularly. A common reason for this is because CPAP machines are bulky and many patients find them to be uncomfortable. Fortunately, there are other options available in the form of oral appliance therapy. This form of treatment involves using an oral device (designed similarly to a mouth guard) to clear whatever is blocking the airway and preventing normal breathing. There are several oral appliances to choose from; our dentists can help you identify the one that is best for you based on your specific symptoms and medical history.
Oral appliance therapy has been extremely effective for our sleep apnea patients. Watch the video below and read the testimonial following it to hear how oral appliance therapy has helped our patients sleep and live better.
Sleep Apnea Patient Testimonial
“I have been using a snore guard made for me by Dina Giesler and her staff for over two years and have been extremely happy. I was diagnosed with sleep apnea and used the CPAP machine which was very uncomfortable and inconvenient. When Dr. Giesler suggested the sleeping appliance I decided I would give it a try and it has been wonderful. I sleep throughout the night and have experienced no discomfort.”
“I would highly recommend this product to anyone with snoring or sleep apnea issues and suggest that they have Dr. Giesler and her team fit them as they do a wonderful job.” – J. Belk
Find Your Solution for Better Sleep
To learn more about sleep apnea, including the treatment options we offer, please contact Atlanta Smiles & Wellness by calling (404) 262-7733 today.