Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that disrupts breathing during sleep. Sometimes this disruption can happen as frequently as hundreds of times every night. If it is left untreated, sleep apnea can cause a variety of serious health problems, from headaches to high blood pressure and stroke. It can also cause drowsiness throughout the day, leading to work and driving impairment.
While there are several types of sleep apnea, the most common is called obstructive sleep apnea, which is blockage that occurs when you’re asleep. Breathing stops then resumes with a start, disrupting your sleep whether or not you wake up completely or are even aware that the disruption occurred.
While there are many effective forms of treatment your dental team can use to help you with sleep apnea, the first step is diagnosis.
How is Sleep Apnea Diagnosed?
Your dental team will help you find the best solution to put an end to sleep apnea, starting by discussing your medical history, conducting a physical examination of your mouth and throat, and identifying apnea risk factors.
There are a number of different ways to identify and diagnose sleep apnea. They include noting whether you:
- Wake up with dry mouth
- Wake up gasping for air or struggling to breathe
- Experience excessive amount of sleepiness during the day
- Have morning headaches that are frequent
- Feel irritable often
- Your partner tells you that you snore loudly
- Your partner reports you stop breathing when you sleep
- Facial distortion and lack of jaw symmetry
How to Treat Sleep Apnea
There are a variety of ways to successfully treat sleep apnea, from simple lifestyle changes such as weight loss and the elimination of alcohol to custom made appliances and more.
Dental interventions include:
Custom-made night guards adjust the positions of lower jaw and tongue to help maintain an open and unobstructed airway while you sleep.
Anterior Modeling Appliance, or ARA
These are used to permanently expand your jaw or correct other orthodontic issues causing airway obstruction, balancing facial bones and teeth and developing balanced bone positioning as well as straightening your teeth
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, or CPAP Machines
A CPAP machine uses a hose that’s connected to a mask or nosepiece, delivering steady, constant air pressure to help you breathe steadily while you sleep. However, a custom night guard is less invasive, less expensive, and considerably easier to use.
A simple surgical procedure may also be employed to treat sleep apnea, removing excess tissue restricting your airway, strengthening airway walls, and more.
Other options can also help, such as decongestant medications for allergies, but a dental night guard is a simple way to solve sleep apnea and help you have a good night’s rest. It also can treat snoring and sleep bruxism or teeth grinding.
A Good Night’s Sleep Improves Your Health
Putting an end to sleep apnea means better health. With a custom night guard moving your jaw forward gently while you sleep, or through another method to solve your apnea, when your airway will be prevented from collapsing, you’ll experience a better night’s sleep.
Solve Sleep Apnea, Snoring, Grinding and Clenching
You can solve ongoing, health debilitation problems from sleep apnea to grinding, clenching, and snoring, with an effective treatment from your dental team. A custom night guard is one excellent way to eliminate these issues, while preventing larger health issues, like painful ongoing temporomandibular joint disorder, headaches, teeth that are damaged or chipped, and other dental problems as well as other overall health problems and concerns.
Ready to Learn More about Diagnosing and Solving Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
If you’d like to learn more about diagnosing sleep apnea and the solutions available for sleep apnea, reach out to us today. We’re here to help!