Has your bed partner or roommate complained about your snoring? Do you wake up feeling lethargic and fatigued even after a full eight hours of sleep? If you answered yes to these questions, there is a possibility that you could have sleep apnea. Snoring is common symptom of sleep apnea. Our dentist offers solutions for treating sleep apnea to help our patients achieve the rest they deserve.
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that causes patients to cease breathing for short amounts of time. Soft oral tissues, near the opening of the throat, collapse and block airways, which causes the cessation of breath during periods of apnea. When the brain detects that the body is not breathing, it will send a signal to wake up the sleeper. The sleeper will awaken slightly to reinitiate normal breathing. Unfortunately, periods of breathing cessation can occur hundreds of times in a night. As the body wakes slightly each time apnea occurs, patients cannot naturally progress through each sleep cycle to get a true, relaxing night of sleep. Instead, patients wake up tired and groggy and sometimes experience headaches and dry mouth, too.
Are there long-term effects associated with sleep apnea?
There are many long-term effects associated with sleep apnea. Because patients are essentially sleep deprived, they often suffer from memory loss, diminished cognitive function, and issues with mood such as depression and irritability. Patients with undiagnosed and untreated sleep apnea experience physical and mental impairment. This impairment could lead to injury and car accidents, as well. Furthermore, research suggests that sleep apnea can weaken the heart and lead to heart and respiratory illness.
How is sleep apnea treated?
The type of treatment used largely depends on the patient’s unique situation. In some cases, lifestyle changes such as weight loss and tobacco abstinence can improve a patient’s ability to breathe during sleep. Our dentist may prescribe a custom oral appliance that repositions the lower jaw slightly to prevent soft tissues from obstructing airways.
To learn more about diagnosing and treating sleep apnea, contact Friendly Dental Care at 740-687-6105 to schedule a consultation with our skilled team of dentists today.