Sleep Apnea Treatment Can Help You Get a Better Night's Sleep

Sleep apnea is a fairly common condition that affects many people—male and female—along with their sleep partners.

Many people who suffer from sleep apnea are unaware they even have it, so they do not seek treatment. But left untreated, sleep apnea can be a dangerous condition that can have a negative impact on your overall health.

Many people with sleep apnea snore but not all people who snore have sleep apnea, so it can be difficult to figure out on your own whether you have it or not. Only a sleep specialist can diagnose sleep apnea.

If you or your partner suffer from severe snoring, getting tested for sleep apnea is important. Call Mary Huffman Family Dentistry to ask about getting tested for this serious condition.

Common Causes of Snoring

People who snore have narrow air passages, which cause the soft and hard tissue palates to vibrate. Surgery can sometimes correct this problem, but this solution does not work for everyone.

Some people are more prone to snoring than others, and there can be many reasons for snoring, including:

  • Alcohol
  • Allergies
  • Daytime fatigue
  • Health problems
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Obesity
  • Poor muscle tone of the tongue
  • Sleep apnea
  • Smoking
  • Obstructed nasal passages (deviated septum)

Signs of Sleep Apnea

Snoring might just be an annoyance that prevents your partner from getting a good night’s sleep, but for others, it can be a sign of sleep apnea. Those who suffer from sleep apnea might experience other symptoms, such as:

  • Cessation of breathing often during the night, followed by choking or gasping for air
  • Waking up frequently throughout the night
  • Feeling tired and irritable throughout the day
  • Waking up with a headache, sore throat, dry mouth, or a combination of these

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, even if snoring isn't present, you should talk to your dentist or your primary care provider about being tested for sleep apnea.

Medical Complications Associated with Sleep Apnea

If you are suffering from sleep apnea, you are at a higher risk for serious medical complications. Diabetes, heart failure, and stroke are just a few of the medical conditions that are associated with sleep apnea.

Treatment for Sleep Apnea

A common treatment for sleep apnea is the continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. CPAP is an excellent treatment for sleep apnea—as long as patients use it the way they are instructed.

CPAP works like this: Patients wear an air mask that is connected to a continuous flow of air. This steady airflow prevents the airway from collapsing, which means patients can sleep nonstop through the night. Unfortunately, many people find the mask uncomfortable or a nuisance and either don't use it or remove it during the night while they are sleeping.

If you have a moderate case of sleep apnea, your dentist might fit you with a dental device such as a mandibular advancement device. This appliance resembles a mouth guard that people use for sports, but it gently moves your lower jaw down and forward, keeping your airway open and making it easier to breathe.

Another device is similar to a splint and works by keeping the tongue in a good position to keep airways open.

Call Us Today to Learn More about Sleep Apnea

Once you have been tested and diagnosed, we can work with you to solve the problem so you—and your partner—can get a better night’s sleep. Sleep apnea is a serious medical condition; don’t wait to be diagnosed. Call us today!