Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a potentially life-threatening sleep disorder characterized by repeated pauses in breathing during sleep. The term sleep apnea is derived from the Greek etymology meaning “without breath”. Breathing pauses can last anywhere from several seconds to minutes, and happen as often as 30 times or more per hour. Ongoing disrupted breathing causes an imbalance between the carbon dioxide and oxygen levels in the bloodstream, as not enough carbon dioxide is exiting and not enough oxygen is entering the body.

Sensing this imbalance, the brain sends a message to the body, telling it to wake up to restart breathing the process. People with sleep apnea will partially awake as they struggle to breathe, and this is often accompanied by loud snoring or choking sensations. Because people with sleep apnea don’t always completely awake during the episodes, they are often unaware they have a sleeping disorder and it can remain undiagnosed.

There are two main types of this disorder; central sleep apnea which occurs when the brain fails to send important signals to the breathing muscles, and obstructive sleep apnea which occurs when air cannot flow through the nose or mouth even though the body is still trying to breathe. Obstructive sleep apnea is far more prevalent and easily treatable by the dentist.

Common signs of obstructive sleep apnea can include severe early morning headaches, sleepiness in the daytime, and insomnia. Fortunately, the dentist is equipped with the necessary technology and expertise to treat sleep apnea in several different ways.

Reason for treating sleep apnea

It is very important to seek medical attention if sleep apnea is suspected. A sufferer can completely stop numerous times per hour, and this can quickly turn into a deadly situation. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the soft tissue lying at the back of the patient’s throat collapses into the airway. The tongue then falls towards the back of the throat which tightens the blockage and prevents oxygen from entering the lungs.

The problem worsens when the chest region, diaphragm, and abdomen fight for air. The efforts they make to obtain vital oxygen only cause a further tightening of the blockage. The patient must arouse from deep sleep to tense the tongue and remove the soft tissue from the airway.

Because sleep apnea causes carbon dioxide levels to skyrocket in the blood and oxygen levels to decrease, the heart has to pump harder and faster to compensate for the lack of oxygen. Sleep apnea patients can technically “die” many times each night. Sleep apnea has been linked to a series of serious heart-related conditions, and should be investigated by the dentist at the earliest opportunity.

What does sleep apnea treatment involve?

Initially, the dentist will want to conduct tests in order to investigate, diagnose, and pinpoint a suitable treatment. The dentist can offer many different treatment options which depend largely on the exact diagnosis and the health of the patient. The dentist may advise the patient to halt some habits that aggravate sleep apnea such as smoking, alcohol consumption, and tranquilizer use.

Sleeping masks were traditionally used to keep the patient’s airways open while they slept, but nowadays there are some less intrusive options. Dental devices that gently tease the lower jaw forward are very effective in preventing the tongue from blocking the main air passage.  These dental devices are gentle, easy to wear, and often help patients avoid unwanted surgeries.

A more permanent solution is to have surgery that sections the lower jaw and helps pull the bone holding the tongue forward slightly. This surgery has an impressive success rate and is simple for the dentist or oral surgeon to perform. The dentist needs to formally make a diagnosis of each individual case before recommending the best course of action.

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Testimonials

I needed to find a replacement for dental care and chose Dr. Hausman. His overall professionalism and choice of staff is outstanding. He takes the necessary time with you to ensure your total dental issues are resolved. He discovered a tumor on my upper palate that was ultimately taken care of with early treatment. He also was able to offer implant alternatives and ensure overall tooth stabilization w/o spending a fortune. I highly recommend him and his staff for total dental care.

Michael W.

Pleasant fast and knowledgeable.
Everyone in this office is so nice!! Here is how this practice is different than every other dentist I've seen:
1. There are TV monitors in every room where they display pictures of your teeth, X-rays , etc. While they're not displaying items pertaining to dental care, the hygienist or doctor display pictures of their hobbies. Becky is a farm girl at heart, she has pictures of her farm, antique tractor and her dog Kentucky. Doctor H. Is an avid fisherman. He has pictures from all over the world with his catch of the day.
The other main difference is Doctor Hausman's professional and technical abilities. He can prep and fill a cavity in like 3 minutes flat. He is like a cavity assassin. Him and his dental assistant complement each other perfectly, as she acts as extensions of his own hands.
The last, and most important for some, thing to mention is that he and his hygienist are trained to work "not in your face" . Other dentist's offices can make you feel so claustrophobic, but never this one.
This place is great, give it a try if you are in town.

Patrick II G.

Longmeadow Dental Care is THE practice that we are glad to have to take care of our dental care. On top of the excellent care provided we noticed the attention to detail, the extreme friendliness, the no-pressure and the listening to our concerns by the Dr and his "crew". This is what a dental practice should be

J.C.

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