Sleep Apnea Treatment in Tampa, FL

Sleep apnea is a widely recognized disorder, yet many people misunderstand its severity and impact. Derived from the Greek word “apnea,” meaning breathless, this condition occurs when airways are blocked during sleep, restricting oxygen flow to the lungs. As a result, individuals wake up frequently throughout the night, sometimes 100 times per night or more. This interruption prevents oxygen from reaching the brain, causing potentially dangerous complications if left untreated. At Tampa Bay Mini Dental Implant Solutions, we provide effective sleep apnea treatment options designed to ensure a full night’s sleep. Our goal is to help you wake up feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.

Understanding Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is categorized as obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea, or complex sleep apnea, which is a mix of the two. In Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), the relaxation of the head and neck muscles leads to blocked airways. Central apnea happens when your brain doesn’t send the right signals to the muscles responsible for proper breathing. No matter the type, the resulting lack of oxygen causes your body’s survival instinct to kick in and wake you up so you can resume breathing. Although this natural response is lifesaving, it disrupts your sleep. This continuous process prevents you from reaching the deep, restorative sleep stages responsible for essential functions, such as tissue repair, immune system support, and hormone production, among others.

Who Is Likely to Develop Sleep Apnea?Sleep Apnea Treatment in Tampa, FL | Dr. Luz Cabrera

Several factors increase the likelihood of sleep apnea, with age and weight being the primary risk factors.

Obstructive sleep apnea is:

  • More likely to develop as we age
  • More likely to develop in those with excess weight or obesity
  • More common in people who are Black, Hispanic, or of Asian descent

Central sleep apnea is more likely in:

  • Adults over 60
  • Patients who take opioid pain medication
  • People with heart conditions or nervous system damage
  • People who live in high altitudes

Common Sleep Apnea Signs and Symptoms

Sleep apnea presents many symptoms that can affect you at night and during the day. Symptoms include:

  • Loud or obnoxious snoring: Snoring is one of the most well-known symptoms, affecting over 90% of people diagnosed with sleep apnea. While common, it is possible to suffer from sleep apnea without snoring.
  • Waking up frequently during the night: You may not remember most of your mid-sleep wake-ups. If you recall waking or your sleeping partner informs you of your sleep habits, it’s time to seek help.
  • Insomnia: This refers to the difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep.
  • Feeling tired even with a full night’s sleep: If you’ve slept through the night but still wake up exhausted, there’s a good chance you have sleep apnea.
  • Sleepiness throughout the day: Being drowsy during the day can affect your work performance, your relationships, and your driving.
  • Mood changes: Anxiety and depression are two symptoms of sleep apnea that many people experience.
  • Cognitive impairments: Some people experience trouble concentrating, memory loss, or other issues.
  • Pauses in breathing or unusual breathing patterns: Sleep apnea can cause breathing issues that a bed partner may notice.
  • Headaches: Headaches that develop shortly after waking up can be a sign of sleep apnea.
  • Night sweats: Some research suggests a link between apnea and nightmares. Bad dreams, repeated awakenings, and gasping for air can lead to sweaty sheets.
  • Sexual dysfunction: Being constantly tired and irritable naturally leads to a decreased interest in sex.

The Traditional Solution: CPAP Machine

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machines keep your airways open by steadily pushing air through your windpipe as you sleep. It is generally recommended for patients with moderate to severe sleep apnea. The machine includes a mask that fits over the nose, mouth, or both, a tube that connects the mask to the machine, and the motor that generates the air pressure.

The rate of airflow is tailored to each patient’s specific pressure needs. With various CPAP machines and masks available, customization is possible to ensure the best fit for your comfort.

Using a CPAP machine offers several health benefits, including improved sleep quality, a lowered risk of heart attack and stroke, and decreased daytime fatigue. For some patients, particularly those with diabetes, it can also aid in better glucose control. However, the main drawback is that some individuals find the device and mask cumbersome and uncomfortable, potentially leading to difficulty sleeping. Other possible side effects are dry mouth, nasal congestion, nosebleeds, skin irritation, and feelings of claustrophobia or bloating.

At Tampa Bay Mini Dental Implant Solutions, we offer sleep apnea treatments for those seeking CPAP alternatives.

Beyond CPAP: Alternative Sleep Apnea Treatment

While CPAP is one of the most common treatments for sleep apnea, our practice is proud to offer alternatives. Other treatment approaches, specifically oral appliances, may be more appropriate for those with mild to moderate sleep apnea and individuals who cannot tolerate a CPAP machine.

Oral Appliance Therapy

Oral appliance therapy is a treatment process that’s just as effective as CPAP. This treatment uses a custom-fitted appliance, similar to a mouthguard, to help keep your airway open while you sleep. The oral device adjusts your lower jaw to open the airway naturally and comfortably without drugs or surgery. This special mouthpiece must be custom-made and adjusted by a trained dentist like Dr. Cabrera.

These appliances have several advantages over CPAP, including size, comfort, ease of travel, and noise level. This user-friendly device facilitates natural breathing, allowing you to breathe through your nose normally.

If you are interested in a custom oral appliance, you should schedule a free consultation and airway assessment with Dr. Cabrera. After discussing your options and designing a personalized treatment plan, she will take an impression of your teeth to send to the dental lab.

When your custom appliance is finished, you’ll come back in for a fitting. Dr. Cabrera will make any adjustments and give you instructions on how to use your new oral appliance. With your new mouthpiece, you can treat sleep apnea without a loud and bulky CPAP machine.

Reducing the Risk of Sleep Apnea

Specific lifestyle changes can significantly impact your sleep quality and reduce the risk of sleep apnea. Here are some effective strategies:

  • Maintain a healthy weight: One of the leading causes of sleep apnea is obesity. Lowering your weight will reduce your risk of sleep apnea and improve your overall health. Weight loss has several health benefits, including improved blood pressure, more energy, less joint pain, better cholesterol, and reduced risk of heart disease, cancer, and stroke. If obesity is causing sleep issues, a weight loss program can be a powerful tool.
  • Practice consistent sleep hygiene: Having a consistent sleep routine leads to better overall sleep. Consider going to sleep and waking up around the same time every day. Avoid eating right before bed, and turn off screens at least 30 minutes before sleep.
  • Sleep on your side: Back sleepers are more likely to suffer from sleep apnea episodes. Sleeping on your side reduces your risk.
  • Manage existing health conditions: Issues such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes can make it difficult to sleep if left unchecked.

It’s important to see your healthcare provider at least once a year for a checkup. At your annual visit, your primary physician can monitor underlying conditions that may lead to difficulty sleeping and help you manage symptoms that affect your ability to sleep through the night.

Get a Restful Night’s Sleep With Sleep Apnea Treatment

Sleep apnea isn’t just a nuisance—it’s a potentially dangerous disorder that can wreak havoc on your life. At Tampa Bay Mini Dental Implant Solutions, we’re committed to providing the best possible service to our clients, whether they are dealing with dental issues or struggling with sleep apnea.

If you’re sick of waking up throughout the night, disturbing your sleep partner, and feeling tired all day, we can help. Call our office to schedule a FREE airway assessment and take the first step towards a good night’s sleep.