Sleep apnea and snoring are common sleep disorders affecting millions of people.
They’re usually the result of a complete or partially obstructed airway causing interruptions in the normal breathing pattern.
Occurring one or more times during sleep, the abnormal pauses and shallow breaths increase your risk for developing other potentially life-threatening diseases.
Besides disturbing your sleeping partner, snoring may also place you at greater risk for developing other medical complications.
Although snoring is not the same problem as sleep apnea, the vast majority of those with this potentially serious condition do snore.
Signs of Sleep Apnea
The following symptoms are common among individuals suffering from the disorder.
• Headaches, dry mouth and a feeling of exhaustion upon waking.
• Irritability, an inability to focus and extreme sleepiness during waking hours.
• Difficulty staying asleep.
• Your sleeping partner complains about your loud snoring or notices that you seem to stop breathing.
• The sufferer may also experience snorting, gasps or body jerks when breathing returns to normal.
Dangers of Sleep Apnea
During periods of sleep apnea, the resulting decreases in blood oxygen levels that occur can undermine your health because insufficient oxygen eventually leads to other medical problems. These include diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease as well as metabolic syndrome and complications with medications.
Daytime sleepiness and a lack of attention can increase your risk for accidents. Lack of sleep can lead to a poor mood, depression and a reduced quality of life.
Treating Sleep Apnea
We encourage sleep apnea sufferers to make certain lifestyle changes. These include losing excess weight, avoiding alcohol and ceasing the use of all tobacco products. They are also encouraged to get sufficient sleep, try a new sleeping position and to stop using sleep aids.
To manage these sleep disorders, apnea patients may also be prescribed a continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP, machine. This medical device improves sleep by delivering a constant flow of pressurized air through a CPAP mask to the throat and nasal passages.
Although the flow of pressurized air enables people to breathe easier and sleep more deeply, an ill-fitting mask or other problems can cause complications, which may compromise the effectiveness of this breathing therapy.
A better alternative may be oral appliance therapy. Because it does not generate noise, it is a better option if you have a sleeping partner. These discrete devices are much easier to use than the cumbersome CPAP mask. The oral appliance will comfortably hold your jaw in a forward position so that your airway remains open while you sleep.
Our experienced dentist will assess your unique needs and order a customized oral appliance. We will also follow up to ensure that the oral appliance effectively eliminates the signs and symptoms of sleep apnea.
If you would like more information about this treatment, call our office at 480-820-3515 to schedule an appointment. We will evaluate your specific condition and determine if an oral appliance is right for you.
Eliminating sleep apnea will improve your health thereby enhancing your quality of life.