Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea sufferers find successful dental treatment for symptoms

Sleep apnea is a common sleeping disorder that affects breathing during sleep. Many people have sleep apnea and don’t even know it. In fact, it often requires a spouse or significant other to tell the patient they have sleep apnea symptoms.

As many as 18 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea, and it does not discriminate—sleep apnea affects men, women, and even children. This statistic translates to an alarming one in every 15 Americans, or nearly 6.62% of the American population, that suffers from the disorder.

Sleep apnea is a progressive health condition that worsens over time, and if left undiagnosed or untreated, is potentially life threatening. Those patients with untreated sleep apnea can have consequences that range from fragmented and poor quality sleep (for your partner, too!), to more serious conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and depression, to name a few.

Types and causes of sleep apnea

There are three kinds of sleep apnea: obstructive, central, and mixed.

Obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA, is the most common form of sleep apnea and can be mild, moderate, or severe. It is characterized by interruptions of breathing during sleep, produced by a blockage in the airway, that last between ten and thirty seconds, and sometimes occurring upwards to four hundred times per night in the severest cases. The most common airway blockages are throat muscles, tongue, tonsils, or soft palate falling back into the throat.

Sleep apnea symptoms

The most common sleep apnea symptoms include:

  • Loud snoring, interrupted by gasps when breathing stops and restarts (more prominent in OSA)
  • Excessive sleepiness during the day when you are reading, watching TV—even while driving a car
  • Difficulty concentrating or forgetfulness
  • Waking up with a headache
  • Feeling like you just can’t get a good night’s rest

Diagnosis and sleep apnea treatment

The best way to diagnose OSA is by scheduling an appointment for evaluation by a sleep physician, who will then conduct a sleep study. I work with these “sleep doctors” to help find the right sleep apnea treatment plan for your OSA issues. I take this condition so seriously that I belong to, and am an active member of, the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine.

Snoring and obstructive sleep apnea are treatable with a CPAP machine, oral appliance therapy, or surgery. Many sleep apnea treatment plans advise the use of a CPAP machine, which helps to increase air pressure in the throat so the airway doesn’t collapse when you breathe in. But a medical solution is not always comfortable and can lead to patients searching for an alternative form of treatment.

First and foremost, I am committed to finding the right sleep apnea treatment plan when you want choices. Again, because of the serious nature of sleep apnea, not all cases are appropriate for treatment through dental care alone, but in many cases, I can provide a simple, comfortable solution by using a snoring mouthpiece. Successful use of this mouthpiece can improve your health and change your life.

Snoring mouthpieces are the least invasive form of treatment and are designed to keep your airway open while sleeping. They are easier to use than a CPAP machine and are often the first choice for a patient with mild to moderate OSA. The mouthpiece is selected, fitted, and used to hold your jaw forward to maintain an open airway in the throat during sleep. I have had great success in my treatment of obstructive sleep apnea with the use of the snoring mouthpiece.

If you think you may have OSA, I invite you to call me for a free consultation about the condition. We’ll schedule an appointment where we’ll discuss the symptoms and potential course of treatment. I may also refer you to a sleep physician, who can perform a sleep study and provide a diagnosis of the condition.

If you have more questions about sleep apnea, I invite you to visit my Frequently Asked Questions page, or click on any of the buttons below to learn more about my other dental services. You can also contact me to schedule a free consultation or second opinion today. I will be happy to speak with you.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Sleep Appliances — Sleep Apnea

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Marblehead, MA 01945
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Richard Ring
Richard Ring

5 out of 5 stars

posted 1 month ago

Dr. Zanni is an excellent dentist. My previous dentist of 35 years recently retired and I was referred to Dr. Zanni by a local periodontist. First he adjusted my bite, then he put crowns on several teeth that were cracked or had large fillings which put them at risk to break. Being seventy years of age, I now have a high level of confidence that all of my teeth are sound. Dr Zanni is highly proficient, provides full explanations and options for treatment and is on the leading edge of dental care. I truly appreciate his explanatory videos which were simple and straightforward.

Lisa Ruffino
Lisa Ruffino

5 out of 5 stars

posted 4 months ago

Dr. Zanni is fabulous— as a dentist, as a doctor, as a compassionate caregiver. New to the area, I had no dentist yet when a front tooth broke unexpectedly on a Sunday night. I found Dr. Zanni on google and called his emergency phone number. To my surprise, he answered after 2 rings and began helping me immediately, despite the fact that not only was I not a patient of his, but a total stranger. Although he was out of town, he offered to see me after office hours when he returned the next day. As promised, he met me at his office, took a meticulous cast of my teeth, and by Tuesday afternoon—less than 48 hours after my tooth broke—he had created a new one for me with dental bonding. It was such a perfect piece of work that you'd never know that the tooth had broken at all and that half of it was not my real tooth. I was relieved, impressed with his skill, and very grateful for his kind, swift, successful solution. Later in the week I returned for a long overdue cleaning and received a top-notch dental evaluation from Dr. Zanni that provided me with far more information and insight about not just my oral health but how it related to sleep and headache history than I've ever had before. Dr. Zanni is a personable, caring, and thorough doctor, and I'm very glad to have found him. I highly recommend him and his excellent staff, who are very much like him in skill and professionalism.

©Jerry A. Zanni, DDS