The Consequences of Untreated Sleep Apnea

Sleep is one of the most important factors that contribute to cardiovascular health, along with regular exercise and a healthy diet. Not getting enough sleep each night can have a cumulative effect that takes a toll on your wellbeing. Sometimes, this restlessness is the result of a sleep disorder. Sleep apnea is among the most common sleep disorders, affecting an estimated 22 million Americans each year. If it goes untreated, the consequences of sleep apnea can be a danger to your health.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which a person’s breathing pattern is interrupted throughout sleep. There are two types of sleep apnea – obstructive and central.

Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common type of apnea, as well one of the most common sleep disorders. It occurs when the airflow through your nose and mouth is blocked by relaxed muscles during sleep, causing you to stop breathing for up to 10 seconds at a time. 

Central sleep apnea is not caused by an actual blockage of the airway, but by failure to start breathing during sleep due to a lack of signals from the brain. This is most common among individuals with existing conditions, such as those who have a history of strokes, kidney or lung disease, or heart failure.

What Can Happen if Sleep Apnea Goes Untreated

If left untreated, sleep apnea can have both mild and severe consequences on your health and wellbeing. Mild irritants include snoring and restlessness during the night. This can also cause those in your household to have trouble sleeping. Consequences can follow you into the day as well in the form of headaches and fatigue, which can lead to underperforming at work or having trouble being present with your friends and family.

Sleep apnea also has more serious long-term consequences, both physically and mentally. Physically, people with sleep apnea can suffer from high blood pressure, strokes, and heart attacks. This is due to the decreased flow of oxygen to organs such as your heart, lungs, and liver. Mentally, a lack of sleep due to sleep apnea can disturb your emotions, which can put you at greater risk of depression and anxiety. 

Other consequences include night sweats, sexual dysfunction, and memory problems. 

Sleep Apnea Treatment

If you think you may have sleep apnea, the first step is to talk about it with a healthcare specialist. The specialist will evaluate you through a sleep study, which involves monitoring your breathing and vital organ functions overnight. This study can be done in a sleep disorder center or at home. 

If your healthcare specialist diagnoses you with obstructive sleep apnea, two common treatments are continuous positive airway pressure therapy (CPAP), and the Vivos System. A CPAP machine delivers a constant flow of air into your nose and mouth to provide sleep apnea relief. However, these machines are noisy and only work if you use them habitually for the rest of your life. 

The Vivos System is a more personalized approach to sleep apnea relief. A combination of doctors and dentists will create a specialized treatment plan and oral appliance that only needs to be used for one to two years. After that period, patients rarely need any further sleep apnea intervention. The Vivos System is also pain-free.

Vivos Dentist in Oro Valley

If you have obstructive sleep apnea, Smith Dentalworks is here to help. Our team of professionals can assess your specific case to offer you a customized device to help treat your condition. 

To learn more about the Vivos System and other services Smith Dentalworks has to offer, contact us today.

Common Cosmetic Dental Concerns

Your smile is often one of the first things someone notices about you. If it doesn’t look the way you prefer, it can impact your confidence. Luckily, cosmetic dentistry makes it possible to change the way your smile looks. Our Oro Valley dentist’s office can address a wide variety of cosmetic concerns.

Some issues that can be corrected with cosmetic dental care include:

Crooked Teeth

Crooked teeth are not always a purely cosmetic concern, and can also affect your oral health. That being said, straightening your smile can definitely improve your confidence, even if the misalignment is not major enough to cause any issues beyond aesthetics.

Treatments – Invisalign or Veneers

Invisalign aligners are clear and discreet. You can get a straighter smile in as little as 12 months with fewer check-ups than braces. Dr. Atty Smith is a preferred Invisalign provider and can examine your smile to determine whether this treatment is best for you.

In cases of very minor crookedness, veneers are another possible option. These are thin porcelain shells which cover your teeth and can be helpful for many different cosmetic issues. However, this is not ideal for serious misalignment.

Cracks in Teeth

Cracked teeth can range from purely cosmetic to a serious dental issue. Superficial cracks, known as craze lines, are a common cause for self-consciousness and are associated with aging or stress on teeth. Deeper cracks, especially those that extend below the gum line, can damage the internal structure of the tooth and typically require more extensive intervention.

Treatments – Veneers, Bonding, or Crowns

Veneers are a great treatment for cosmetic cracks since they cover the surface of the tooth.  Dental bonding, which is the use of a composite material to make minor cosmetic adjustments, is also an option. While bonding is less durable than veneers, it is more cost-effective.

If the crack is serious, a dental crown may be necessary. In the most severe cases, you may need to have the tooth extracted and replaced with a dental implant topped with a crown.

Gap Teeth

Some people enjoy the appearance of a gap between their teeth, whereas others do not. A gap between the two front teeth is usually the most noticeable, and therefore is more common for patients to seek treatment for.

Treatments – Veneers, Bonding, or Invisalign

Veneers can cover a small gap between teeth. Bonding can close a small to medium gap. If the gap is one of multiple orthodontic issues, then Invisalign may be beneficial. Our dentist can examine your gap and determine the best treatment(s) for your needs.

Stained or Discolored Teeth

Teeth can become discolored to stained due to aging, certain foods or drinks, or a variety of other causes. No matter why it happens, a stained or discolored smile is one of the most common cosmetic dental concerns.

Treatment – Whitening or Veneers

Teeth whitening is the most straight-forward solution for staining, and we offer both at-home and in-office solutions. In cases of severe discoloration, or if the yellow color is a result of exposed dentin, veneers may also be an option. Veneers are also more permanent and allow you to address multiple cosmetic issues at once.

Cosmetic Dentistry at Our Oro valley dentist’s office

At Smith Dentalworks, we can address the concerns listed above as well as other cosmetic issues. We also offer restorative and preventative dentistry.

If you have cosmetic dental issues you’d like to address, contact us today.