Many of our patients had no idea that our offices can help with your sleep apnea. Before you settle for a lifetime of hauling a small machine with you everywhere you go, contact us today! We can help to outline a variety of simple options to help treat your obstructive sleep apnea today.
What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a potentially serious and deadly condition that faces many of our patients today. This condition is caused by a temporary blockage of the airway that typically happens while you sleep. When your body is unable to get oxygen to the brain, your brain will become alarmed and wake you up. This often only lasts for a brief moment because you are immediately triggered to start breathing again. Unfortunately, this can happen hundreds or even thousands of times every night. These interferences can affect your ability to go through the proper sleep cycle throughout the night.
You may awake groggy in the morning even though you’ve been in bed for eight hours or more! This groggy feeling can be one of the minor effects of sleep apnea, though. Sleep apnea can also result in high blood pressure, obesity, higher levels of stress, increased risk of heart disease, and an increased risk of stroke.
A blockage in your airway can be caused by a variety of reasons. Sometimes patients who have a mouth that is too small, a tongue that is too large, or muscles that are flaccid in the back of the throat can experience obstructive sleep apnea. As you sleep, your body relaxes, and any of these conditions can cause your airway to become partially or completely obstructed. There are a variety of devices that your dentist can prescribe that may be able to correct your issues and get you back to sleeping through the night.
Identifying Sleep Apnea
One of the earliest signs of sleep apnea can be bruxism. Bruxism is when you clench or grind your teeth and jaws. Most patients with sleep apnea will produce some level of bruxism while they sleep. This can have some detrimental side effects to your teeth, and dentists frequently treat bruxism with a night guard. However, if you have bruxism, your dentist may also be considering that you have sleep apnea.
Another sign of sleep apnea can be excessive snoring or irregular breathing. Unfortunately, most patients have no idea that this occurs. This can be even more disrupting for the partners of people who have sleep apnea. If your partner recognizes snoring, grinding your teeth, irregular breathing, or gasping, you may want to contact your dentist to see about being screened for sleep apnea.
If your dentist or doctor suspects sleep apnea, they may schedule you for a sleep study. A sleep study monitors you while you sleep and can give your care providers an idea of the presence and severity of sleep apnea for you. This information can be critical for your future care to help identify which treatment options are right for you.
Treating Sleep Apnea
Depending on the cause of your sleep apnea, there are a variety of different treatment options. While your doctor may prescribe a C-PAP or Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machine, your dentist may have some less cumbersome options. Obstructive sleep apnea can often be treated by placing simple dental devices in place that help to hold the jaw and tongue in a position that doesn’t allow your airway to become blocked.
If you or your partner believe that you may have sleep apnea, call us today. We have the skills and knowledge to alleviate sleep apnea in many patients without tying them to a cumbersome and expensive medical device. Call today to sleep better tonight!