Sleep Apnea is a severe sleep disorder that affects a person's breathing, causing interruptions during sleep. People with sleep apnea stop repeatedly breathing during their sleep, which may cause the brain and rest of the body not to get enough oxygen. It is caused due to a physical blockage in the upper airway. When the airway closes, a person will stop breathing. Once the person starts breathing again, they may snort or awaken completely with a sensation of gasping, smothering, or choking. If untreated, sleep apnea may lead to complications such as heart diseases and depression.
What are the three types of Sleep Apnea?
The three main types of sleep apnea are:
- Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common form that occurs when the muscles of the throat relax.
- Central sleep apnea occurs when the muscles controlling the breathing do not receive signals from the brain.
- Complex sleep apnea occurs when someone has both obstructive and central sleep apnea.
What are the symptoms of Sleep Apnea?
The most symptoms of obstructive and central sleep apneas include the following:
- The patient with sleep apnea will suffer from excessive daytime sleepiness.
- It may cause a morning headache.
- One can awake to gasp for air during sleep.
- There can be instances when a person stops breathing during sleep.
- The person may snore loudly during sleep.
- It may cause insomnia in a patient suffering from sleep apnea.
- It may cause you to awaken from your sleep with a dry mouth.
- A person will have difficulty paying attention while awake and may lead to irritability.
How do you treat Sleep Apnea?
The options to treat sleep apnea will depend on the cause and severity of symptoms. The treatment's main aim will be to normalize breathing during sleep and address any underlying health problems. The first critical step to normalize breathing will be certain lifestyle modifications, which include the following:
- To develop healthy sleeping habits.
- The person has to limit alcohol consumption and quit smoking.
- One has to follow a healthy diet.
- Sleep apnea can be overcome with regular exercise.
- Reduce your excessive weight.
- Try to sleep on your side or abdomen rather than your back.
How can Dentistry help treat Sleep Apnea?
The role of a dentist can be precious in treating sleep apnea. After receiving a diagnosis, a dental appointment can help people learn more about sleep apnea and the various options available in treating it. Dentists may recommend wearing oral appliances. These appliances can help ease symptoms in patients suffering from mild to moderate Apnea. This oral device used in oral appliance therapy looks and functions almost to that of a mouthguard. When a patient wears it during sleep, it helps the obstruction of the airway from occurring. This oral appliance, available at the dental clinic, is designed to hold the lower jaw forward during sleep. This repositioning of the jaw moves the tongue away from the back of the throat, reducing the potential for obstruction.
Only a dentist can fabricate, fit, adjust, monitor, and treat oral appliance therapy complications. This treatment is based on scientific evidence, and it is an excellent remedy to attempt before moving onto more complex breathing devices. Surgery should be kept as a last option. A dentist's consultation will be the right decision if you are suffering from any symptoms associated with sleep apnea.
Call us at Briarwood Family Dentistry or schedule an online appointment to know more about Sleep Apnea.