Sleep apnea is a condition that allows soft tissues in the mouth/throat to collapse during periods of sleep blocking the airway preventing oxygen from getting to the brain. For some, this can occur a few times a night – this might be considered a mild case. A more serious condition can see this happening many more times every night preventing the individual from getting sufficient sleep. Relief is critically important – start with your dentist as sleep apnea appliances have been found to provide the answer to restore a good night’s sleep.
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
A sleep study can be performed to give you a definitive diagnosis. But there are multiple symptoms to look for to help you determine if you are suffering from interrupted sleep.
Snoring – This on its own does not mean you have sleep apnea. But loud bursts that awaken you coupled with coughing or gasping for air are indicators. A partner would probably be able to help identify this symptom.
Mood – A lack of sleep can make you feel irritable, sad, or short on patience.
Lack of Focus – Struggling to sleep can occur occasionally, but when it is allowed to continue night after night it is difficult to maintain focus at work or school.
Daytime Sleepiness – If you awaken daily with a feeling of insufficient rest, you may have trouble staying awake throughout the day. This is most certainly problematic for people we rely on to stay alert … airline pilots, truck drivers, doctors … the list goes on and on.
Morning Headaches – Interrupted sleep can lead to awakening with a headache.
How Does A Sleep Apnea Appliance Work?
Your dentist will fit you with sleep apnea appliances that look much like a mouthguard you might wear to prevent nightly teeth grinding. The apparatus will position your jaw to prevent soft tissues from collapsing.
It is important that you get fitted properly; if it is uncomfortable or does not fit properly, it may not function correctly and you won’t get any benefit from having it.
In addition to using a sleep apnea appliance, you should try to sleep on your side. Losing a few pounds may help. Avoid caffeinated foods and beverages after mid afternoon. Do not use sleep aids or drink alcohol as they can exacerbate the problem by relaxing those soft tissues even more.
To discover more treatment options at our office, call us today!