Sleep apnea occurs when the tongue collapses against the back of the throat during nocturnal breathing. This blocks the upper airway and airflow stops. When the oxygen level in the brain becomes low enough, the sleeper partially awakens, the obstruction in the throat clears, and the flow of air starts again, usually with a loud gasp. Repeated cycles of decreased oxygenation lead to very serious cardiovascular problems. Additionally, these individuals suffer from excessive daytime sleepiness, depression, headaches, and loss of concentration.
Our oral and maxillofacial surgeons, Dr Gocke and Dr. Whiting offer consultation and treatment options. We can assess the anatomic relationships in the maxillofacial region, cardiovascular damage, and the level of obstruction with cephalometric (skull x-ray) analysis, nasopharyngeal exams performed with a flexible fiber-optic camera, and sleep studies to monitor an individual overnight.
There are several treatment options available at our Northern Virginia area office, including night guards, a CPAP machine to ensure proper airflow, as well as many simple laser and surgical options.
To find out more about all the options available for sleep apnea, contact our office in the Northern Virginia area to schedule a consultation at (703) 388-2805.