Everything You Need to Know About Sleep Apnea

By October 1, 2014 August 26th, 2015 Dental Health, Sleep Apnea

Posted Wednesday, October 1st, 2014 | Filed under: dental healthSleep Apnea | author: Dr. Alan Steiner
Sleep apnea is a serious medical condition that occurs when the back of the throat constricts and blocks the airway. This reduces oxygen intake, which can cause levels to drop enough that the body wakes up to take a breath.

This cycle can happen many times during a night, resulting in poor sleep, depression, irritability and other negative symptoms. Fortunately, there are some practical solutions to sleep apnea. One of which is a dental treatment.

Signs of sleep apnea

Sufferers of sleep apnea often have no idea they have it. The waking episodes during the night can be so quick that you’re not even conscious of them. There are several symptoms linked to sleep apnea. They are:

  • Excessive snoring
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Poor sleep
  • Feeling tired first thing in the morning
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Waking through choking

Diagnosing sleep apnea

Many of those symptoms can also be caused by other conditions so correct diagnosis is critical. Often a sleep study is required by a certified sleep specialist to correctly diagnose sleep apnea. A test called a Polysomnogram is used to study you as you sleep. This test analyzes brain waves, heartbeat and body movement to assess whether you’re suffering from sleep apnea or not.

Treating sleep apnea

An effective treatment for less severe cases of sleep apnea is oral appliance therapy. This complicated sounding term describes a variety of tools we can use to address the particular issue. Depending on what’s causing the sleep apnea, there is usually an oral appliance to suit.

For example, if the sleep apnea is caused by a loose tongue, there is an appliance to keep it out of the way. If it’s caused by mandibular misalignment, there are aligners to straighten the jaw. There are also custom appliances that can be used to enlarge the airway and prevent oxygen deprivation.

While sleep apnea is undoubtedly a serious medical condition, the treatment is often very simple. If a dental appliance can be used to address the cause, the procedure is relatively straightforward. We identify which kind of oral appliance will be most effective, design one to fit your mouth and then try it out. It really can be that straightforward.

If you think you’re suffering from sleep apnea, you will need to work with certified sleep experts with experience in dealing with the condition. You will also need to work with dentists with the expertise and experience to effectively treat you. That’s something Aesthetic Family Dentistry can help with.

Contact us today if you would like to know more about sleep apnea.