Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the soft tissues of the throat collapse during sleep, interrupting breathing and causing the patient to awaken briefly, as often as hundreds of times per night. If left untreated, this disorder can not only cause significant daytime fatigue, but also lead to heart problems and other serious complications. Dr. Gary Herskovits offers sleep apnea treatment at his Brooklyn, New York, practice to allow patients to achieve restful sleep. At Brooklyn Smile, we view sleep apnea as it affects the entire body, and design our treatment to be effective while remaining comfortable so that you can wake up feeling refreshed. If you are experiencing sleep apnea symptoms, or if you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, please contact our office and make an appointment with Dr. Herskovits.
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
While snoring is one of the most common symptoms of sleep apnea, one of the first symptoms that sufferers themselves notice is excessive fatigue throughout the day. This is the result of being frequently and briefly awakened throughout the night. In fact, these awakenings are so brief, sufferers almost never remember them. Sufferers also frequently complain of waking up with headaches that last for the entire morning, having a dry mouth or sore throat, becoming irritable, and experiencing a less dependable memory.
Causes of Obstructive Sleep Apnea
While you are sleeping, the muscles in the back of your throat relax, causing the airways to become more narrow. Sleep apnea sufferers experience complete airway blockage during sleep, making it much more difficult to inhale. This results in low levels of oxygen in the blood, which signals the brain that something is wrong. The brain responds by waking the sufferer briefly to reopen the airway. This can happen repeatedly throughout the night, impairing the ability to achieve restful sleep.
Treatment Using an Oral Appliance
During your initial consultation with Dr. Herskovits, he may suggest some simple lifestyle changes, such as weight loss, avoiding alcohol or sleeping aids, and changing your sleeping position. He may also recommend a custom oral appliance designed to keep your airway open as you sleep, allowing you to breathe normally throughout the night. These appliances are custom-designed to fit your bite as comfortably as possible.
Oral appliances work by shifting the position of the lower jaw forward, positioning the throat muscles in a way that allows the airways to remain open. This ensures that an adequate amount of air can pass through, delivering the proper amount of oxygen to the bloodstream and eliminating repeated awakenings throughout sleep. Many patients prefer oral appliances to continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines because they are more comfortable.
Make a Sleep Apnea Appointment
If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, or if you have been suffering from sleep apnea symptoms, we are here to help. Dr. Herskovits can perform an in-depth analysis to determine if you are suffering from sleep apnea, and recommend an effective method of treatment. Please contact our office to schedule a consultation with Dr. Herskovits.