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Sleep apnea: Health risks and how Infinite Smiles can help

Sleep apnea is a serious condition that is typically associated with loud snoring, daytime fatigue and heart problems. If you are a long-time sufferer, Dr. Patel provides practical, comfortable solutions to most forms of sleep apnea.

Do you snore badly? Do you wake up feeling like you hadn’t slept? Sleep apnea and the health risks they pose are serious. Left untreated, it can lead to heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and more. Dr. Patel and the staff at Infinite Smiles have the expertise to help diagnose and treat your sleep conditions. With our help, you can soon go back to receiving the rest you need.

What is sleep apnea?

Simply, sleep apnea is a disorder that prevents you from breathing during sleep. Consequently, this disrupts your natural sleep cycle, preventing you from receiving a good night’s rest.

The average sufferer can wake up as many as 200 times each night. This is significantly more than even the most restless sleeper.

There are two common forms – obstructive and central. Additionally, a third form can occur. It is called complex sleep apnea or treatment-emergent central sleep apnea.

Illustration of of a head with sleep apnea, showing the airway passage.

Obstructive sleep apnea

Your airway becomes blocked when muscles in the back of your throat relax.

Central sleep apnea

During sleep, your brain fails to transmit signals to your breathing muscles.

Complex sleep apnea

A combination of both obstructive and cental sleep apnea.

Risk factors of sleep apnea

This disorder can affect men and women of any age. However, certain factors increase your risk for developing this sleep disorder.

Being overweight

Chronic nasal congestion

Family history

Heart disorders

Larger neck circumference

More common in older men

Narrowed airway

Opioid pain medications



Swollen tonsils or adenoids

Use of alcohol or sedatives

Sleep apnea health risks

Sleep apnea symptoms can be inconvenient or alarming. As a result, it is important to monitor and manage your symptoms appropriately. This is because complications can, in fact, be life-threatening. Left untreated, the following complications can occur:

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Daytime fatigue and difficulty concentrating

Waking up multiple times a night disrupts your body's sleep pattern, preventing you from getting restful sleep.

Hypertension, abnormal heartbeat and heart attacks

When your breathing stops, your heart works overtime to pump oxygenated blood to your body, affecting your overall heart rate.

Low blood oxygen levels (hypoxia or hypoxemia)

If you have heart disease, low blood oxygen can result in sudden death from irregular heart beat.

Mood swings, irritability and depression

Lack of sleep has been proven to cause emotional and behavioral problems in adolescents and adults.

Sleepwalking, sleep talking or sleep eating

More common in children, adults may also develop abnormal sleep behaviors as a result of lack of sleep and restless sleep.

Disrupted sleep for long-term partners

Loud snoring, the most common symptom of sleep apnea, keeps most partners awake all night.

Liver problems including nonalcoholic fatty liver disease

You may likely show abnormal liver function and visible scarring on clinical tests of your liver.

Metabolic syndrome, including high cholesterol and weight gain

Metabolic syndrome is linked to high blood pressure, high blood sugar and higher risk of heart disease.

Surgical complications relating to sedation and pain medications

Because your airway becomes blocked lying down, you may be at increased risk of life-threatening surgical complications.

Type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance

In combination with other complications, you may begin to develop insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.

The most common symptom is chronic loud snoring . However, daytime fatigue, weight gain and irritability may also indicate you are suffering from sleep apnea.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, including those listed above, we can help.

Our dentists can help

We agree with sufferers – this affliction is very disruptive. Some days, it may seem like it will never get better. Fortunately, Dr. Neal Patel can help! We provide the solutions you need for healthier sleep starting with these step.

Step 1. Comprehensive consultation

First, we will talk with you to determine which of your symptoms are related to your sleep apnea.

Step 1. At-home sleep test

Second, to diagnose the severity of your condition, we will send you home with a monitor to track your sleep overnight. Testing in the comfort of your home, rather than a hospital-style sleep clinic, can more accurately determine your sleep habits.

Step 1. Sleep analysis

The test monitors several factors overnight. This includes your pulse, oxygen saturation, average breaths per minute, number of apneas and other symptoms.

Step 4. Review results

After your test, Dr. Patel will send your results to a certified sleep physician for analysis. We will go over the results with you and provide you with the proper care.

Step 5. Treatment

Most cases of mild to moderate sleep apnea can be treated with a snore guard. However, severe cases must be treated with the proper CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine.

Photo of a sleep apnea sleep appliance

Oral appliances for sleep apnea

For most conditions, Dr. Patel designs a comfortable, custom-fit sleep apnea appliance for you to wear while you sleep. This appliance shifts your jaw just slightly to help your airway stay open.

Our oral appliances, also called digital snore guards, more accurately fit your mouth than traditional guards. We use a 3-D scan of your mouth to design a guard that fits you perfectly, ensuring sound, comfortable sleep for you and your partner.

If you are ready to sleep better, call us today at 740.881.2600 or book your appointment online. If you have any questions regarding sleep apnea health risks or treatment, we are always happy to help.

Schedule your appointment

Call us at 740.881.2600 or use this form to schedule today. We will contact you soon to find your ideal appointment time!

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Referral program

Terms & conditions

Get rewarded for referring friends and family to Dr. Neal Patel!

Refer as many people as you like, and earn a $50 credit (per household) each time.

Credits will be applied after the referred party completes an initial appointment that includes a comprehensive exam, cleaning and x-rays.

$50 credit is given to both you and the person you refer to Infinite Smiles.

New patients, simply mention who referred you to our office at your first appointment for the credit to be applied.

Does not apply to free consultations.

Referral discount is non-transferable.

If submitting to insurance, a $50 credit is applied to payment before insurance for any dental service.

Referral program discount does not expire.

Not redeemable for cash.