While there are several types of sleep apnea, the most common is obstructive sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when your throat muscles relax and block the upper airway while you sleep. This intermittent narrowing or collapse of your airway will cause you to snore and have trouble breathing during the night. When you snore or frequently wake up due to breathing trouble, both you and your bedpartner suffer from insufficient sleep. Because quality sleep is necessary for good overall health and quality of life, you should talk to your doctor and dentist about the best way to treat your sleep-disordered breathing.
Signs and Symptoms
The most noticeable sign of obstructive sleep apnea is snoring, but there are other signs and symptoms that may indicate if you have sleep apnea. Some of the symptoms that you should look out for include:
Pauses in breathing during sleep
Waking abruptly with gasping or choking
Mood changes such as depression or irritability
Difficulty concentrating during the day
Dry mouth or sore throat in the morning
Excessive daytime sleepiness
High blood pressure
Treatment of Sleep Apnea
Our dentists are trained to help treat and manage snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. We will conduct an oral examination to help determine if you have sleep apnea or if there is another reason for your snoring. We can then use oral appliance therapy to help you control your sleep-disordered breathing. Traditionally, CPAP therapy is used to treat people with sleep apnea; however, this treatment isn’t right for everyone, so oral appliance therapy may be the helpful treatment you need.
Oral appliance therapy is an effective treatment for obstructive sleep apnea and snoring. Our dentists will provide you with a custom-fit device that resembles an orthodontic retainer for you to wear at night. The device supports your jaw in a forward position to keep your airway from collapsing while you sleep, allowing you and your bedpartner to have restful nights.
What causes sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea occurs when your airway becomes obstructed while you sleep. In most cases, your tongue or throat muscles relax and block your airway. Structural issues such as large tonsils or tongue and being overweight can increase the risk of sleep apnea.
What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?
There are a lot of signs and symptoms of sleep apnea, but the most obvious symptom is snoring. However, it’s important to note that not everyone who snores has sleep apnea. Another very common sign that you have sleep apnea is if a bedpartner notices that you periodically stop breathing throughout the night. Because people with sleep apnea have disrupted sleep, they also often feel sleepy, experience morning headaches, and have other mental and physical issues that result from insufficient sleep.
If left untreated, how can sleep apnea affect my overall health?
Sleep apnea negatively affects your quality of sleep, which in turn can have a negative impact on your overall health. When you consistently do not get enough sleep, you may experience problems with memory, concentration, and mood. Your body will also be less able to fight off illness and will be more at risk of developing severe health issues such as heart disease.
You don’t have to live with insufficient sleep.
Come visit the team at University General Dentists so we can discuss your snoring and sleep apnea concerns and help you find the right treatment to stop your snoring and improve your quality of sleep. Give us a call to schedule your appointment today.