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Over 22 million Americans suffer from sleep disorders which cause snoring, restlessness, fatigue, and an increased risk of health issues. Sleep apnea is a serious condition that can impact all areas of your life. It has been linked to heart attack, stroke, and premature death.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

  • During Sleep—one of the most common sleep apnea symptoms is loud, frequent snoring followed by lapses in breathing, waking up choking or gasping, frequent trips to the bathroom, and general restlessness.
  • Throughout the Day—sleep apnea sufferers often wake up with headaches and a sore throat. Because the quality of your sleep is compromised, you may feel fatigued throughout the day and have difficulty concentrating.
  • Day-to-Day Behavior—if left untreated, sleep apnea can cause irritability, depression, decreased libido, and memory loss. It has also been linked to serious systemic health conditions including heart disease. 

Could you be at Risk of Sleep Apnea

You are at higher risk of developing obstructive sleep apnea if you:

  • Are overweight
  • Have a family history of snoring
  • Are a smoker
  • Are experiencing menopause
  • Are of Black, Hispanic, or Native American descent

The disorder can affect men, women, and children of all ages.

Different Types of Apnea

  • Obstructive—Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common type of sleep apnea. It is caused by overly relaxed or enlarged throat muscles and large tonsils, adenoids, or a large overbite which cause narrow airways and restrict the flow of oxygen.
  • Central—Central sleep apnea (CSA) is less common but much more serious. The condition is caused by a lapse in neurological activity, where your brain stops signaling your body to breathe. This can happen several minutes at a time, sometimes dozens or hundreds of time throughout the night.
  • Complex—also known as mixed sleep apnea, complex sleep apnea is caused by a combination of both obstructive and central sleep apnea. Patients with complex sleep apnea do not respond to treatments for OSA alone. This type affects 15 percent of all sleep apnea patients.

Worried that your Sleep Apnea has Disrupted your Whole Life? 

Treating sleep apnea can help to improve yoour mental well-being. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, new studies have shown that depression decreased from 73 percent to four percent in sleep apnea patients after therapy. 

John F. Rink DDS, AAACD

Effective treatment of obstructive sleep apnea resulted in substantial improvement in depressive symptoms, including suicidal ideation...

David R. Hillman, MD

Can a Doctor Diagnose the Condition?

In most cases, a doctor or dentist can perform a formal diagnosis for sleep apnea. In order to determine the severity of your sleep apnea and prescribe the most appropriate treatment, they may order a sleep study at a special facility. During the study, a specialist will monitor your activity, movement, oxygen levels, and other vitals.

Your level of sleep apnea will depend on the number of episodes you have during sleep:

  • 0-5 per hour: Normal
  • 5-15 per hour: Mild
  • 16-30 per hour: Moderate
  • 31 or more per hour: Severe ​

Many dentists can also let you borrow a device such as a WatchPAT, which allows you to track your sleep patterns in the comfort of your own home.

How you can Prevent Sleep Apnea

Available Treatments for Sleep Apnea

Oral Appliance Therapy

If you have mild to moderate sleep apnea, you may be a good candidate for oral appliance therapy. Your dentist can design a custom mouthpiece that fits snugly over your teeth and repositions your lower mandible to a forward position during the night, opening your airways and reducing snoring. The treatment can be very effective, even for patients with more severe sleep apnea. 

CPAP Therapy

Continuous positive airway pressure therapy, or CPAP, is the most effective way to reduce moderate to severe sleep apnea. CPAP patients will wear a mask during sleep which delivers positive airway pressure to open their airways. However, the device takes some getting used to, which can affect the patient compliance. 

Combination of Both

Combining oral appliances and CPAP machines is well-tolerated by most patients. A study conducted by the National Center for Biotechnology Information found that combination therapy reduced daytime sleepiness and normalized breathing disturbances.  

Surgery

If excess tissue, large tonsils, or enlarged adenoids are blocking your airway, surgery may help. During the procedure, a surgeon can remove the excess tissue and increase your chances of a healthy airflow.

The sooner you seek out treatment, the sooner you can sleep better, improve your overall health, and enhance your quality of life. To find out if you are one of the millions of Americans suffering from sleep apnea, schedule a consultation with your doctor today.

Practice Policy Update Regarding COVID-19 View Update Virtual Consultation

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YOUR TREATMENT PLAN

To Our Family of Patients,

After much thought and concern for the health of our patients and team, I would like to share with you my thoughts on how the Coronavirus outbreak in the United States can best be managed at our practice. The key issue is prevention. Social distancing is the best solution at this time to prevent the spread of the virus.

Therefore, in conjunction with the South Carolina Dental Association recommendations, I have decided to close our normal practice operation with the exception of emergency and urgent care situations, through the end of March, 2020. I will be available for you and your family for emergency and urgent needs. Please call my personal cell phone if you have any questions or if you need an office visit. I am here for you.

After we have weathered this storm, we will be here to see that you continue to have the excellent care that you and your families deserve. We thank you for the trust that you place in our practice. We look forward to a long and healthy relationship in the future.

My cell phone number: 843-224-0517

To Your Good Oral and Systemic Health!

- Dr. John F. Rink, DDS, AAACD

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