Sleep apnea is a problem that can be challenging to diagnose only because patients are rarely aware they are experiencing anything more than typical nighttime snoring. This condition is far different, however, in that sleep apnea produces pauses in breathing, during which the body is deprived of the oxygen necessary for full health. The most common form of this disorder is called obstructive sleep apnea, which occurs when the airway becomes blocked by muscles as they fully relax during sleep.
There are a number of factors which causes obstructive sleep apnea, including obesity or a large neck circumference, use of sleep aids or alcohol, family history, age, and nasal congestion. What is more important, however, is to know how to recognize the symptoms of sleep apnea so that health complications can be avoided. Many people who suffer from sleep apnea find that they:
Do you snore excessively? Do you suffer from daytime fatigue? Do you awake during the night with shortness of breath? You may suffer from the life-threatening sleep disorder known as sleep apnea. About 1 in every 15 Americans suffer from sleep apnea and it is a problem that many don’t even realize they might have. But what does this have to do with dentistry? Because sleep apnea is caused by an airway obstruction, the disorder can be treated through the mouth. The Thorton adjustable positioner, or Tap appliance is one of the more popular ways to treat sleep apnea. When the jawbone yes lax, the tongue and soft tissue obstruct the airway. The tap appliance advances the jaw bone, allowing the air to flow freely and making sleep more restful throughout the night. If you think you might suffer from sleep apnea, talk to your dentist today about possible treatment options.
- Often wake with a sore throat or dry mouth
- Wake during the night to drink water or use the bathroom
- Often feel excessively tired during the day even after a full night's sleep
- Find it difficult to concentrate
- Fall asleep for short bursts, such as at a stoplight
- Feel moody, irritable, or depressed
In the past, there was only one treatment commonly offered for the treatment of sleep apnea, the CPAP machine. This device, worn as a mask over the nose and mouth during sleep, tends to create enough discomfort to result in very low compliance. Today, there are more options available, one of which can be found in your experienced dentist's office.
What Our Patients Say About Sleep Apnea Services
Sleep apnea is a potentially serious condition that requires maintenance. We work alongside our sleep apnea patients, medical doctors and may include a sleep specialist in this team of experts, so that through a multi-disciplinary approach, the patient experiences his or her best sleep.