What is sleep apnea?
There are three types of sleep apnea:
- Obstructive sleep apnea
- Central sleep apnea
- Complex sleep apnea syndrome (occurs when someone has obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea)
Below, our Trenton dentists outline the causes and affects of sleep apnea, and how a device can help you treat it and sleep comfortably.
What causes sleep apnea?
When you drift into deep sleep, your throat tissues, soft palate and tongue relax. For those with sleep apnea, the throat tissues and soft palate over-relax, causing them to collapse into the back of your throat, blocking the airway.
When the airway is blocked, the flow of oxygen ceases, and as a result your brain forces you to wake up slightly to consciously resume breathing. These episodes may happen hundreds of times a night, seriously disrupting your sleep.
How are snoring and sleep apnea diagnosed?
Some symptoms of sleep apnea include:
- Heavy snoring
- Restless sleep and fatigue
- Problems focusing
Though loud snoring is a notorious symptom and may indicate a potentially serious problem, not everyone who has sleep apnea will snore. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should visit a medical professional so you can receive a proper diagnosis.
Once your issue has been diagnosed by a medical professional, your dentists can help you get a better night’s rest with a number of treatment options. We will complete a full examination of your teeth, tongue, airway and jaw, and potentially take an x-ray of your airway, to determine the right appliance for your needs.
What sleep apnea devices or oral appliances can help?
Aside from connecting your apnea and letting you sleep through the night, sleep apnea devices have some other benefits as well:
- Portable and convenient for travel
- Easy to care for
- Easy to insert and remove
- Quiet and not disruptive to any bed partners (unlike some sleep apnea machines)
Why is it important to treat sleep apnea?
If you have sleep apnea, you will be unable to fall into a deep, restorative sleep that recharges your brain and body. This can play a roll in many medical disorders and diseases, and reduce your life’s quality and longevity.
Leaving sleep apnea untreated can lead to higher blood sugar, which is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and other heart problems. This condition can also cause high blood pressure and a diabetes as a result of insulin resistance.
By treating sleep apnea, your dentist can help you improve and protect your overall health and wellbeing.