Your Guide To Sleep Apnea

Many people struggle with sleep apnea, which can affect their quality of sleep. If you think you may suffer from sleep apnea, you may be afraid that CPAP machines are the only option. However, your dentist may be able to help. If you would like to know more about sleep apnea, keep reading.

What Are the Symptoms and Side Effects of Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea causes you to randomly stop breathing for short moments during sleep. As a result, many people don't realize they have sleep apnea until someone complains of loud snoring. Other signs of sleep apnea include:

  • Stopping breathing for short periods of time
  • Gasping for air
  • Walking up with a headache
  • Waking with dry mouth

These symptoms affect your sleep, slightly rousing you. As a result, you may wake up feeling tired and not fully rested. You may struggle with concentrating or even struggle with mood changes like depression and irritability.

What Type of Sleep Apnea Do Dentists Treat?

Some people suffer with central sleep apnea. This type of apnea involves the brain, and it's not common. With central sleep apnea, your brain struggles to send signals that control breathing. Obstructive sleep apnea is much more common, and the type treated by dentists.

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when your throat muscles relax too much. This causes it to collapse, temporarily blocking your ability to breathe correctly. Risk factors for obstructive sleep apnea include:

  • Being obese
  • Having a narrowed airway
  • Having hypertension
  • Struggling with chronic nasal congestion
  • Diabetes
  • Asthma

How Do Dentists Treat Sleep Apnea?

CPAP machines work by constantly filling your airway with pressurized air. This keeps the airway open to prevent breathing from pausing. However, these machines can be bulky, expensive, and loud. They make traveling hard, and they may even annoy your partner.

Your dentist, however, can provide an oral appliance that holds the jaw in place. This prevents it from falling onto the throat and collapsing it, so you keep breathing smoothly. In more extreme cases, your dentist may be able to provide a maxillary skeletal expander to expand the palate.

Sleep apnea isn't just annoying. It can drastically affect you during the night and while you're awake. CPAP machines may still be a popular choice, but if you have obstructive sleep apnea, an oral device from your dentist may be able to help for less money and fewer problems. If you would like to know more about treating sleep apnea, contact a dentist in your area today.