Sleep Apnea Boulder, CO

Do you or your partner snore? Are you excessively tired during the day? You may have sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) occurs when the throat muscles relax and block the upper airway during sleep. During sleep apnea, breathing stops and starts when patients are asleep. Breathing can stop from 5 seconds to over a minute. Additionally, patients can stop breathing hundreds of times per night.

Sleep apnea restricts oxygen to the heart and brain and can cause many serious problems if left untreated. It is important to receive professional care when you notice changes in your sleep. Dr. Rachel Barone treats patients with sleep apnea in her Boulder, CO, dental office. In addition to sleep apnea treatments, we provide general dentistry services in Boulder, CO.

Sleep Apnea in Boulder, Colorado

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

Common signs of sleep apnea include:

  • Snoring
  • Waking up throughout the night, short of breath
  • Irritability
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Headaches
  • Gastric reflux
  • High blood pressure

If you have a partner or roommate, they may know you have sleep apnea before you do. While you wake up multiple times throughout the night, you may not even notice. Talk to the people you live with to see if they’ve heard snoring. There are also sleep-tracking apps and features that record your noises throughout the night so that you can determine if you’re snoring.

Treating Sleep Apnea in Boulder, CO

Dr. Barone provides sleep apnea screenings and airway exams to her patients. Often, occlusion, or the bite, can impact sleep apnea. She will determine if your bite is exacerbating your sleep apnea symptoms and find the right treatment for your symptoms. 

Dr. Barone will recommend an oral sleep appliance for patients with mild to moderate sleep apnea. This appliance offers an alternative to CPAP machines. CPAP machines deliver a continuous stream of air to keep the airway open. However, while these machines benefit patients with moderate to severe sleep apnea, they can be difficult for some patients. 

An oral sleep appliance, or mandibular advancement appliance, positions the lower jaw forward to expand the throat and keep the airway open. Dr. Barone takes dental impressions to create a custom sleep appliance. Typically, these appliances are acrylic, covering the upper and lower teeth and using metal hinges to bring the jaw forward. 

The Dangers of Untreated Sleep Apnea

While snoring may not seem very scary, sleep apnea is extremely dangerous if you don’t seek treatment. A lack of sleep impacts your mind. You’re foggy and unable to think clearly throughout the day. Sleep is essential for your brain to process new memories, so you may start to experience memory loss. Depression and irritability are more likely because your brain isn’t getting enough oxygen or rest.

Sleep apnea causes you to stop breathing multiple times throughout the night, making you more likely to have other breathing issues. Adult asthma is more prominent in patients with sleep apnea than those without. Your blood oxygen is lower because your body is deprived of all the oxygen needed to function normally. You’re tired and at risk of falling asleep in inappropriate situations, like while you’re driving. You put yourself and others at risk.

Blood and vascular issues are some of the most scary impacts of untreated sleep apnea. You’re more likely to have high blood pressure, which can make breathing problems worse. Sleep apnea patients are also more likely to have increased blood sugar and higher levels of what’s considered “bad” cholesterol. If you already have type 2 diabetes, untreated sleep apnea makes the symptoms worse.

Lastly, sleep apnea is linked to issues in a few other body parts. You have higher-than-normal levels of certain liver enzymes, and you’re more likely to have fatty liver disease. There’s also a connection between sleep apnea and acid reflux. Patients with sleep apnea are more likely to suffer from heartburn than those without.

Treat Sleep Apnea Today

Do you think you may have sleep apnea? Call 720-881-0614 or request a dental appointment at Gunbarrel Dental Center on our website. Please let Dr. Barone know if you have any questions about your symptoms or treatment options; she will gladly help.