Sleep Apnea & Snoring

Sleep Apnea is a breathing condition when an individual repeatedly starts and stops breathing while asleep. This can be a very serious concern, as chronic sufferers of sleep apnea can exhibit heart problems, high blood pressure, liver problems, and daytime fatigue, to name a few.

There are two types of sleep apnea:

Obstructive Sleep Apnea-This occurs when the throat muscles relax and block the airway. This is the most common form and can be treated by a dentist.
Central Sleep Apnea-This occurs when the brain and the muscles that control breathing do not communicate properly.

Symptoms of sleep apnea:

  • excessive daytime tiredness
  • episodes of sudden stops in breathing while sleeping (this would only be noticed by another person).
  • chronic, deep snoring
  • dry mouth when you wake
  • headache in the mornings

If you feel like you may have sleep apnea, you should see a doctor. Only a sleep test (nocturnal polysomnography) can diagnose you with sleep apnea.

Causes of obstructive sleep apnea:

There are several risk factors that might make someone more susceptible to obstructive sleep apnea. Let’s just say that if you are an older, overweight, congested, male smoker with a family history of sleep apnea…you are tops on the list of candidates.

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the muscles of the throat relax and allow the jaw and tongue to fall back and literally close off the airway to the trachea. Blood oxygen levels begin to drop and the brain eventually triggers you wake up just enough to begin breathing again. This cycle repeats itself potentially every couple of minutes, preventing the person to reach the deeper sleep cycles the body needs to feel refreshed.

Treatments of SLEEP APNEA and SNORING:

There are many treatments available for sleep apnea, including CPAP (continuous positive air pressure) machines, surgery, and oral appliances. Since snoring is considered a precursor and/or symptom of sleep apnea, these two can be treated the same way. Oral appliances are far more comfortable and easier to use than a CPAP. However, a consult with your doctor may be beneficial before treating sleep apnea, since there are underlying reasons why some should use a machine like a CPAP.

As a dental office, we can fit you with an oral appliance that works by holding your jaw slightly forward, thus maintaining an open airway throughout the night.

Come in for a free consultation to see how a sleep apnea appliance can work for you!