Mr. Smith Treats His Sleep Apnea
- June 16, 2016
Mrs. Smith is not putting up with this another night. She’s sick and tired of listening to her husband’s snoring.
She is sick and tired of not being able to get a full night’s sleep.
And she is sick and tired of feeling grumpy in the morning because she hasn’t slept well.
Tonight, she’s making her husband sleep on the couch, and he’s going to stay there until he calls Pioneer Dental Group. Their dentist office, located in Oregon City, OR, can help Mr. Smith find out if he has sleep apnea, and — more importantly — they can help treat his symptoms, including the loud and persistent snoring.
Mr. Smith Makes The Call
After a night on the couch (which wasn’t as comfortable as he remembered), he decided that he would call Pioneer Dental Group.
He made an appointment with Dr. Pioch to discuss his situation. Mr. Smith described how his wife always complained about his snoring. He also spoke about he felt so tired in the mornings no matter how many hours he slept the night before.
Mr. Smith also talked about how he often felt tired during the day while sitting at his desk at work. A couple times, he even said that he’d nodded off briefly behind the wheel, although he had never told his wife about this.
Dr. Pioch helped Mr. Smith make arrangements to participate in a sleep study. When it was completed, the physician concluded that Mr. Smith was suffering from moderate obstructive sleep apnea (also known as OSA).
He also made plans to meet with Dr. Pioch again to discuss treatment options.
The Smiths Learn About OSA
Once Mr. Smith’s sleep apnea was confirmed, he and Mrs. Smith started doing some research. What they learned seemed a little scary.
People with OSA actually stop breathing in their sleep. When they fall asleep, the muscle in their through relax, allowing the soft tissues to cut off the person’s airways.
This can lead to breathing stoppages of between 10 and 30 seconds, and since Mr. Smith has moderate OSA, that means his breathing stops between 15 and 29 times every hour that he is asleep.
Asleep is something of a relative term in this situation since they also learned that when he stops breathing, his body’s response is to wake him up briefly so he can breathe again. This happens so briefly that Mr. Smith doesn’t remember this happening.
Nevertheless, every time he wakes up it interrupts his sleep cycle. This means he rarely, if ever, reaches the deep stages of sleep, which is when the body recuperates from the previous day and when he dreams.
These deep stages of sleep are essential to getting healthy sleep, something that Mrs. Smith wasn’t getting enough healthy sleep either since she was frequently woken up by her husband’s snoring.
As they continued to read, they learned that people with untreated sleep apnea are at a higher risk of having high blood pressure, heart disease, heart attacks, strokes, and diabetes.
Mr. Smith also found reports that showed that people with untreated sleep apnea are more likely to be the driver in car accidents, which prompted him to finally tell his wife about his episodes behind the wheel.
Both of them were looking forward to his return to Pioneer Dental Group.
Sleep Apnea Treatment
Many sleep apnea patients first receive a CPAP (continuous positive airways pressure) machine. This machine forces air into the user’s airways.
As long as the CPAP is used correctly, it allows the user to breathe consistently in his or her sleep. Mr. Smith didn’t really like the idea of using the CPAP. The mask seems like it might be uncomfortable, and from what he learned, many CPAP owners don’t use their machines as regularly as they should.
Not treatment his sleep apnea isn’t an option for Mr. Smith at this point. Instead, he asked Dr. Pioch to create a mouthguard for him.
This kind of mouthguard is worn overnight. It pulls his jaw forward slightly, which helps to keep his airways open.
As he adjusted to wearing the mouthguard, he started waking up feeling refreshed instead of exhausted. His wife started sleeping better too since he had finally stopped his seemingly non-stop snoring.
Keep Up With The Smiths
The Smiths in our story above aren’t real people, but we have met many patients with similar concerns at our dentist office in Oregon City, OR. At Pioneer Dental Group, we are committed to helping you or your spouse manage your sleep apnea and to get a healthy night’s sleep.