Sleep apnea is a condition during which your airway passages close during sleep, causing your brain to jolt your body awake to get the air that it needs to survive.
Other airway disruption conditions can include:
- Sleep-disordered breathing, which can include abnormal breathing or insufficient airflow during sleep.
- Snoring, that grating, harsh sound caused by vibrating tissues in airways that are too relaxed. Snoring is much more than an annoying habit. It can be an early indicator of sleep apnea or other health issues.
This condition does much more than disrupt a good night’s sleep. If left untreated, it can have serious health consequences.
It’s difficult to recognize what our own bodies are doing when we are asleep, but there are still several signs that could indicate that you are struggling with sleep apnea. They include:
- Not feeling well-rested after a full night’s sleep.
- Waking up frequently throughout the night.
- Disrupting a partner’s sleep.
- Daytime drowsiness.
Sleep apnea can even occur in children, particularly if there is a family history of the condition or other health issues present. It is important to diagnose and treat this problem, especially since it can affect your child’s health. Some children are even misdiagnosed with ADHD — attention deficit hyperactivity disorder — because of the attention problems they might experience at school due to a lack of restful sleep.
At Current Dentistry, a simple oral exam may help determine whether you are experiencing sleep apnea. Many sleep apnea sufferers also grind their teeth, so if we notice dullness during your regular dental exam and appointment, we may ask you about your sleeping habits.
If we suspect that you may be experiencing sleep apnea, we could recommend that you seek out a formal diagnosis through a medical doctor. If you are formally diagnosed with sleep apnea, don’t despair. Awareness that the issue exists is the first step to doing something about it. Options for treatment include:
- Lifestyle changes. These can include exercising more or adapting your diet to include healthier food options in an effort to lose weight.
- Dental appliances. Customized dental appliances can help reposition your tongue and jaw, opening airways for a better night’s sleep.
- Breathing machines. CPAP — continuous positive airway pressure – machines force air into you throughout the night as you wear a nose or face mask.
Here at Current Dentistry, we can counsel you on your options — and offer customized sleep appliances that could offer you a solution to your sleep apnea. Appliance therapy is one way that patients can address their airway issues while sleeping — and it is much less invasive than surgery and less of a bother than breathing machines.
If you suspect that you may have sleep apnea, there’s no reason to put off finding a solution. Call us to schedule an appointment to talk about the dental appliances we can help fit you with, or simply mention it during your next checkup.