Answers to the Most Common Questions About Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a fairly common sleep disorder that impacts your breathing as you sleep, causing it to start and restart. This can deprive your body of adequate levels of oxygen and can lead to all sorts of other sleep-related issues, not least of which will result in your not getting an adequate and rejuvenating night’s rest. 

Thankfully, there are some notable solutions that can restore your restful slumber. We explore what you should know if you may be suffering from it – including …

What Are Common Sleep Apnea Symptoms?

Consider the following common symptoms of sleep apnea if you’ve ever wondered you’re experiencing it:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Abrupt awakenings
  • Loud snoring
  • Morning headache
  • Shortness of breath

What Are The Types of Sleep Apnea?

There are three main types of sleep apnea that can impact the lives of those suffering from this condition. 

One is Obstructive Sleep Apnea, which is the most common and severe form. This usually affects overweight males who are between the ages of 35 to 50 years. Other characteristics associated with this type of sleep apnea also include the sufferer having a small opening to their airway combined with a large tongue or tonsils. They can also have a small jaw as well in many cases. Snoring is a notable symptom of this type of sleep apnea. 

Central Sleep Apnea is another form of sleep apnea but is the less common and rarer form of the disorder. Central sleep apnea causes the airway to remain open but the chest muscles and diaphragm will fail. This results in dropping blood oxygen levels, which will often cause the sufferer to wake up, gasping for breath.  Loud snoring is not typically associated with central sleep apnea because the airways stay open. 

Finally, the third type of sleep apnea is known as Mixed Sleep Apnea. As you likely guessed, it is a bit of a mixture between the two types of apnea mentioned above. It can involve long periods of Obstructive Sleep Apnea mixed with brief episodes of Central Sleep Apnea. 

Is There a Treatment for Sleep Apnea?

Thankfully, sleep apnea treatment options do exist when it comes to living life with sleep apnea. Some treatment options include lifestyle changes like losing weight. Others include using a CPAP machine, which is one of the most common treatments for sleep apnea. This machine provides enough air pressure— via a mask that is worn while sleeping— that the sufferer maintains enough air while they sleep. There are even surgical options that address some underlying causes of the condition. Surgeries like nasal passage surgery, tonsillectomy, and an adenoidectomy could be utilized to address this problem. Other surgical treatments include palate and hypopharyngeal procedures, along with others. 

Can a Dentist Treat Sleep Apnea?

In addition to the other treatments listed above and as an alternative to a CPAP machine or more invasive procedures like surgery, there are also sleep apnea dental devices that can be used to treat this problematic condition. This means that in some cases, yes, a dentist can treat sleep apnea quite successfully. Dental treatment options can include using oral devices like mandibular advancing devices, which look like a sports mouth guard. They work much in the same way as snoring mouthpieces. They are adjusted by a dentist to address sleep apnea by forcing the lower jaw forward, ensuring that the airway remains opened wider during sleep. These devices are often made of either silicone or plastic and are adjustable to ensure a proper and comfortable fit. 

How is Sleep Apnea Diagnosed?

To determine if you have sleep apnea, you can visit a dentist who can look at your mouth for evidence of the condition. This along with the symptoms you’re experiencing can be enough to determine you have the issue. In some cases, medical doctors require more evidence and will have you participate in a sleep study, or a polysomnogram, to diagnose the condition. Sleep studies typically take between 9 and 10 hours to complete and take place at a sleep center. 

Are There Additional Complications Associated with Sleep Apnea?

There are many negative results of living with sleep apnea. However, if you fail to treat it and let it run its course unchecked, there can be even more dire consequences. For example, stroke, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, cardiomyopathy, heart attacks, and more can be caused by or associated with sleep apnea. It also causes disruption in sleep which can have a cumulative effect that can result in mood disturbances, trouble concentrating, and memory problems. 

Sleep Apnea is a Problem With Many Possible Solutions

Sleep apnea is a problematic condition that can have a lasting impact on sufferers. Thankfully, there are many types of treatments including dental solutions that can effectively remedy the problem and restore a sufferer's sleep to the restful, restorative slumber they need to live a healthy life. 

If you feel sleep apnea might be an issue for you, and you want to know more about how dental options from a sleep apnea dentist could help this condition, reach out to us today. 

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