Sleep Apnea Cedar Park, TX

Dr. Max Kerr and Dr. Brandon Hedgecock work with Sleep Better Austin to provide patients with custom sleep apnea treatment plans. Treating sleep apnea can help you sleep soundly and feel better during the day. Learn more about addressing sleep apnea and preventing further oral and physical health issues in Cedar Park, TX. In addition to providing sleep apnea treatment, we offer comprehensive general dental care services to new and existing patients. 

Sleep Apnea in Cedar Park, Texas

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea occurs when the muscles in the back of the throat relax too much during sleep. As a result, muscles collapse and block the airway, which means patients wake up just enough to continue breathing again.

While patients typically don’t remember waking up frequently throughout the night, these episodes disrupt the sleep cycle. Sleep apnea can significantly decrease the patient’s quality of sleep. This consistent lack of quality sleep can lead to a wide range of symptoms; in some cases, sleep apnea can be fatal.

The Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

Patients are often unaware that they have sleep apnea because they are asleep when episodes occur. Not everyone who snores has sleep apnea. But if your loud snoring is interrupted by periods of silence, that’s a sign that you may have sleep apnea. The only way to know for sure is by completing a sleep study. Common sleep apnea symptoms include:

  • Chronic Exhaustion and Fatigue
  • Loud Snoring
  • Waking up Choking or Gasping
  • Waking with a Dry Mouth
  • Daily Sore Throat
  • Headaches
  • Difficulty Concentrating 
  • Irritability and Mood Swings

Sleep Apnea Risk Factors

You can be at risk of developing sleep apnea if you are over 40, male, or overweight. Pharangyl fat, or fat deposits in the neck, can block the airway. A narrow airway passage and a large neck circumference can also contribute to sleep apnea. If you do not have enough room for oxygen to flow through your upper airway, you will likely experience more disruptive sleep.

Snoring and Sleep Apnea

You may not have sleep apnea if you snore. However, snoring can be a symptom of sleep apnea. Snoring occurs when the tissues in the throat and nasal passages relax. When you snore, the vibrations of air passing by these tissues create noise. Sleep apnea is marked by pauses in breathing from an airway blockage. 

You can snore during periods of sleep apnea. If you or a partner frequently snore, contacting a doctor for a sleep study is worth it. During a sleep study, a doctor will monitor oxygen levels, different sleep stages, and sleep disruptions. A sleep study can help determine if you have sleep apnea. 

Heart Problems and Sleep Apnea

If you already have heart problems, obstructive sleep apnea can trigger heart complications. Continual pauses in breathing during sleep take a toll on the heart. Sleep apnea drops blood oxygen levels, which makes the heart work harder to pump blood. This then raises your blood pressure. 

Obstructive sleep apnea is linked to heart problems, including strokes, heart attacks, and congestive heart failure. Sleep apnea treatment can improve your heart health and prevent current heart problems from worsening. 

Treating Sleep Apnea in Cedar Park, TX

There are several ways we can treat sleep apnea. Many patients use Continous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machines. A CPAP forces air into the lungs even when the muscles are relaxed. This machine uses a mask that patients place over their nose and mouth and breathe through during sleep. However, this mask is uncomfortable, and the CPAP machine is noisy.

Oral Appliance Therapy

However, there is an alternative to CPAP machines from your dentists. We can create custom oral appliances that fit comfortably in the mouth during sleep and help keep the airway open. Also known as mandibular advancement devices, oral appliance covers the upper and lower teeth. They bring the lower jaw forward to prevent the tongue from blocking the throat. Even when the muscles relax, the air can still move in and out with the mouthguard.

We work with Better Sleep Austin to provide oral appliances. The dentist will take impressions of your teeth, and then a lab will create your oral appliance. Once the oral appliance is complete, you will return for a fitting. 

Oral appliances for sleep apnea are minimally invasive and inexpensive compared to other treatment options. They offer an effective way of treating sleep apnea. Mouthguards or oral appliances are more convenient and cost-effective than CPAP machines. Oral appliances are easy to travel with, and patients typically have an easier time getting used to them and using them regularly.

How To Minimize Sleep Apnea

There are several steps you can take at home to help reduce sleep apnea symptoms:

  • Sleep On Your Side or Stomach: Your sleep position can worsen mild sleep apnea. Sleeping on your back increases the chance of tissues blocking your airway. Alternatively, sleeping on your side or stomach helps keep the airway open. Sleeping with your head elevated can also help prevent tissue collapse.
  • Try Nasal Spray: Congestion blocks your nasal passages, making breathing difficult. If you’re congested, you may feel like you need to breathe through your mouth, especially during sleep. Taking decongestive medicine or using a nasal spray can help reduce the chance of sleep apnea.
  • Avoid Alcohol: Moderate or heavy drinking can trigger sleep apnea. Drinking alcohol can slow down your breathing, increase drowsiness, relax airway tissues, and increase nasal congestion. Don’t drink before bed to minimize your risk of sleep apnea. 

We recommend these lifestyle changes and professional care if you are diagnosed with sleep apnea. If you are unsure if you have sleep apnea but notice common symptoms, contact a doctor. They will determine the severity of your symptoms and will recommend treatment that is right for you.

Reverse Sleep Apnea Symptoms

Could a custom oral appliance for sleep apnea increase your sleep quality? Please get in touch with our office to schedule a sleep apnea consultation. You can also call Vista Ridge Family Dentistry in Cedar Park, TX, for sleep apnea treatment at 512-866-9654.