Every night, the sound of a foghorn can be heard from beneath the covers of your bed – and you might not even know it.
If someone has told you that you snore, you may be suffering from sleep apnea. This disorder can do more than keep your spouse up all night. If left untreated, it can cause major, long-term health consequences.
If you suspect that you have sleep apnea, it’s important to get treatment fast. A professional specializing in sleep apnea dentistry can be your key to better sleep, more energy, and improved quality of life.
If you’re curious about sleep apnea dentistry, read on to learn more about the condition and what you can do to stop snoring in its tracks.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Do you have a loud, incessant snore? Do you find yourself waking up multiple times during the night to use the bathroom? Do you suffer from low energy, sore throats, and mood swings?
All of these can be signs of sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a disorder that occurs when an individual stops breathing during the night. It has a major effect on the quality of sleep that you get, and how well you can function during the day.
Kinds of Sleep Apnea
There are three general kinds of sleep apnea that you might have. Some involve the muscles of the throat, while others involve improper brain signals.
Sleep apnea dentistry is most effective in cases of obstructive sleep apnea. This takes place when your throat muscles relax during sleep, causing an obstruction that stops your breathing. The relaxation of your throat muscles is what causes the snoring and sore throats so common in sleep apnea patients.
Central sleep apnea is less common and occurs when the brain fails to send signals telling your body to continue breathing normally during sleep. If you have symptoms of both obstructive and central sleep apnea, you might have complex sleep apnea.
Sleep Apnea Symptoms
Some individuals with sleep apnea sleep alone, which means they aren’t aware that they snore. In those cases, it’s important to pay attention to other symptoms.
Snoring can cause individuals to wake up with a dry mouth, a swollen or painful throat, and a headache immediately upon waking.
When individuals with sleep apnea stop breathing, they tend to wake up in the middle of the night without realizing why. If you typically sleep for seven to nine hours per night and still feel fatigued and irritable during the day, you may be getting less sleep than you think. Sleep apnea can also cause insomnia in some individuals.
Sleep Apnea Complications
The symptoms of sleep apnea may be obvious, but it can also cause complications that are not as easy to see. Many of these involve your cardiac system and can be deadly if left untreated.
Individuals with untreated sleep apnea can suffer from high blood pressure and heart arrhythmias. This can lead to heart disease and heart attacks. It can even cause strokes.
Sleep Apnea Risk Factors
Some individuals are more likely to get sleep apnea than others. These tend to be individuals who are obese and have a larger neck circumference. The fat surrounding your airways can be causing obstructions during the night.
The majority of sleep apnea patients are male. It can also affect women after menopause. On average, older adults are more likely to experience sleep apnea than young adults or children.
A family history of sleep apnea is also common. Some preexisting medical conditions can also increase your risk. These include Parkinson’s disease, type 2 diabetes, PCOS, and asthma.
If you smoke, you are more likely to have a problem with obstructive sleep apnea. This is because smoking causes inflammation in the throat region. It can lead to fluid retention in that area that can block airways and affect breathing at night.
What Is Sleep Apnea Dentistry?
If you are struggling with sleep apnea, you might be wondering how a dentist can help with treatment. The key is finding a dental practitioner who specializes in sleep apnea dentistry. The right dentist can fit you with a custom-fitted appliance that will help you sleep much easier.
Custom-fitted appliances are important because a dentist designs and fits them with your body in mind. Over-the-counter options exist, but they lack customization and can be harmful in the long run. Often, these devices stop snoring but do not affect any of the other symptoms.
Before you see a dentist, you may wish to visit your general practitioner for a sleep study referral. This simple overnight test can determine if sleep apnea is the cause of your symptoms. From there, a dentist can work with you to find relief for your condition.
Sleep Apnea Devices
Two common devices that can improve your life are lower jaw advancing devices and tongue retaining devices. These help position either your tongue or jaw so that your airway will remain open during sleep. A qualified sleep apnea dentist can assess your situation and create a custom device that will prevent obstructions.
The Cost of Sleep Apnea Dentistry
Treating sleep apnea using dental devices can be less expensive than treating it through more traditional means. If your case is mild to moderate, you may not need to use a CPAP machine or other expensive medical device. A small, portable dental appliance might be all you need to resolve the issues of your particular case.
Sleep Better With Sleep Apnea Dentistry
Sleep apnea is more than just snoring. It is a condition that can seriously affect your quality of life. Luckily, sleep apnea dentistry exists to give patients cost-effective relief!
If you are in the Newbury Park or Thousand Oaks area, Newbury Dental Group has professionals on staff that are ready to help you regain your energy and your life. They will help fit you with a custom appliance that will immediately improve your sleep quality! If you’re ready to make a change, contact Newbury Dental Group and schedule a consultation today!