Waking up throughout the night or keeping your partner awake with snoring are signs of sleep apnea, a sleep disorder characterized by frequent pauses in breathing that occur during sleep.
You might not think to visit the dentist for sleep apnea treatment. However, depending on the type of sleep apnea you have, our dentists might be able to help you solve your sleep apnea problems with a simple dental device worn during sleep.
Signs and Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
Loud snoring is the most common symptom of sleep apnea. If you suffer from sleep apnea, you might also experience the following symptoms:
- Gasping for air upon waking
- Waking frequently throughout the night
- Fatigue or feeling tired during the day
- Falling asleep at inappropriate times
- Dry mouth
- Morning headaches
- Lack of dreams
If you notice any of these signs or symptoms of sleep apnea, you should schedule an appointment with your family doctor right away.
Risk Factors: How Sleep Apnea Affects Health
Sleep apnea repeatedly deprives the sufferer of sleep and oxygen. As a result, it leaves you feeling unrested and groggy during the day, and, if left untreated, it can take a fairly serious toll on your general health.
Individuals with untreated sleep apnea are at risk of developing the following health problems:
- High blood pressure
- Heart attack
- Irregular heartbeat
Additionally, the fatigue caused by sleep apnea puts you at a higher risk of accidents while driving or at work.
Sleep Apnea Diagnosis and Three Types of Sleep Apnea
If you suspect you have sleep apnea, you will likely need to spend a night in a sleep clinic for a proper diagnosis.
There are three different types of sleep apnea:
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) – Cessation in breathing is caused by the collapse of soft tissues located in the neck during sleep.
- Central Sleep Apnea (CSA) – Cessation in breathing is caused by a nervous system disorder that interrupts the signal in the brain that regulates breathing.
- Mixed Sleep Apnea – Cessation in breathing is caused by both of the above issues.
The most common type of sleep apnea is OSA. Males over 40 and individuals who are overweight are at the highest risk, but sleep apnea can affect anyone. The type of sleep apnea a patient is diagnosed with determines the type of treatment that is most appropriate.
Sleep Apnea Treatments at Eastgate Dental Excellence
Once diagnosed with sleep apnea, your doctor will talk with you about your treatment options. The most common treatment for sleep apnea is a CPAP machine that keeps your airways open while sleeping. If you have CSA, a CPAP is your only treatment option.
However, if you are diagnosed with OSA, you might be a candidate for sleep apnea treatment at our dental clinic. A sleep apnea nightguard positions the mouth in a way that maintains free airflow.
To learn more about sleep apnea treatment, we welcome you to schedule an appointment at Eastgate Dental Excellence today.
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