08 May Sleep Apnea Solutions
Sleep apnea is a condition where the individual experiences a blockage of oxygen to the brain due to a collapse of soft tissues in the mouth and/or throat. This can occur up to hundreds of times every night with the sleep/waking cycle occurring each time. This does not provide the sound night’s sleep needed for a productive day.
There are clues you may be suffering from sleep apnea, but many patients can go undiagnosed because they just believe they are not sound sleepers. Some of the signs you are dealing with sleep apnea include snoring (not a definitive symptom … lots of people snore); on-going daily fatigue; headaches. But none of these issues point to a specific problem; a sleep study is usually needed for a specific diagnosis.
But if you suspect you may be faced with sleep apnea a visit with your dentist may be all that is needed to help provide a solution.
An oral appliance that looks much like a sports mouth guard can be fabricated by your dentist. It works by placing your jaw forward preventing your tongue and throat muscles from collapsing during sleep.
Other suggestions your dentist may offer include losing a few pounds … sleep apnea seems to affect overweight people. Sleeping on your side is better than reclining on your back. Have acid reflux? Or a family history of sleep disorders? These may be further indicators of what you may be dealing with.
Obstructive sleep apnea must be taken seriously. Left untreated, it can lead to serious health issues like high blood pressure, heart failure, depression, and diseases of the immune system like diabetes. Another serious side effect may be the onset of periodontal disease which can advance to tooth loss.
Regular exercise and stress reduction will help; avoid caffeine consumption hours before bed; and do not take sleep medications or drink alcohol believing that their relaxation will help induce a sounder sleep. They can exacerbate the problem by relaxing those muscles even more … which is what you’re trying to prevent.
Sleep apnea is treatable. A good first place to begin your pursuit of a great night’s sleep is with your dentist. If wearing a simple oral device will prevent the cycle of disturbed sleep, it is certainly worth the time and effort to pursue this potentially life changing treatment.
For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact Friendly Dental Care at 740-687-6105 today.