What Is Sleep Apnea?

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Team Sleep Apnea

You may have heard the phrase sleep apnea but you’re not sure what it really means. Or perhaps you’ve been snoring or you feel exhausted even if you’ve slept all night, and you’re considering sleep apnea just might be the cause.

Either way, let’s take a look at what sleep apnea is.

The Meaning of Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is as common as it is disruptive. The condition causes you to stop breathing and then start restart the process of breathing repeatedly while you sleep. It can cause a lack of oxygen. It’s a serious disorder that can occur many times each night, and wreak havoc with your sleep and overall health.

Three Main Types of Sleep Apnea

There are three main types of this common disorder:

  • Obstructive sleep apnea happens most often, and occurs when your throat muscles relax
  • Central sleep apnea is caused due to improper signals sent between your brain and the muscles controlling your breathing 
  • Complex sleep apnea/treatment-emergent central sleep apnea refers to both of the previously listed types of sleep apnea occurring

If you don’t treat it, sleep apnea can be the cause of a wide range of health hazards of which disturbed sleep and daytime impairment is just one. It can cause headaches, exhaustion, high blood pressure and can lead to a stroke.

And it's insidious: even if you don’t know it’s happening while you sleep, it can still cause these serious issues.

How Do You Know If You Have Sleep Apnea?

Even if you aren’t aware of sleep apnea occurring regularly, your skilled dental professionals can help you diagnose it and find a solution. 

If you wake with a dry mouth or struggling to breathe, or you’re finding that you’re tired and sleepy during the day, these can all be signs of sleep apnea. So can morning headaches and irritability. Or perhaps you’ve been told that you frequently snore, or stop breathing while you sleep. Your skilled dentist can also help diagnose the condition by taking a complete medical history and noting any distortion of your face or jaw.

Once diagnosed, sleep apnea can be treated successfully.

How Sleep Apnea is Treated

So, how can sleep apnea be treated? Treatment can be as simple as losing weight or making dietary changes such as avoiding alcohol, or addressing allergies. 

Your dentist can also create custom-made night guards that prevent teeth grinding and clenching, and adjust the lower jaw and your tongue to reposition both and help your airway stay open while you’re sleeping. 

Other treatment tools include:

  • Anterior Modeling Appliance, or ARA to expand or correct orthodontic problems and the obstruction of your airway
  • Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, or CPAP Machines, which deliver a constant air pressure to help you breathe consistently while asleep 
  • Simple surgical procedures can also be used if it is necessary to remove any tissues that restrict your airways or to strengthen the walls of your airway.

Find Out More about Sleep Apnea 

If it’s time for you to learn more about sleep apnea, or receive sleep apnea treatment we’re here to help you find the information you want and the solutions you need. Contact us today at 817-481-6888.