How are you sleeping lately? If you’re a snorer or you’re sleeping next to one the answer is probably “not too good.” Whether you’re being kept awake or are getting elbowed in the ribs you know how disruptive snoring can be to a good night’s sleep.
But it could be more than just snoring. If it’s overly loud, constant, followed by interruptions in breathing, or has resulted in serious daytime disturbances to your life it could be sleep apnea. This dangerous condition can cause serious health complications if left untreated. We can help at Northwest Dental Group!
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a cessation in breathing caused by complete blockage of your airway. The constant snoring you hear is due to partial blockage caused by relaxing soft tissue in the neck. When you sleep all those muscles and tissue that are kept active during the day loosen up, leading to a potential collapse in your airway. Complete blockage can occur when your jaw relaxes back into your throat, your tongue blocks your mouth, or simply because of excess airway collapse.
The pauses, called apneas, usually only last a few seconds but are enough to do serious damage to your health. The long term complications of sleep apnea can include hypertension, heart disease, depression, daytime fatigue, decreased libido, and a higher risk of stroke.
Sleep apnea is a serious condition that can cause serious problems but there’s good news: it can be treated easily. While there’s no true way to eliminate sleep apnea aside from lifestyle changes there are sure-fire ways to eliminate the symptoms and prevent deterioration of your health.
Are You At Risk For Sleep Apnea?
Like any illness there are some people who are at risk for no other reason aside from genetics. But for every one of those people there are plenty that end up with sleep apnea due to any number of the following symptoms.
- Obesity can constrict the airway, and the more mass surrounding your throat the easier it is to block it at night.
- Patients with necks that are overly small or large have an increased risk due to small airways or excess tissue collapse.
- Smoking and drinking greatly increase the risks of sleep apnea. It’s best to eliminate these bad habits or at least not smoke or drink to excess near bedtime.
- Nasal congestion or other chronic nasal problems can increase your sleep apnea risk because of the extra airway blockage in your nose. You’ll be forced to breath through your mouth, which could be suffering from airway collapse already.
- Older males tend to be the most commonly diagnosed sleep apnea patients.
Treating Sleep Apnea: It’s Easy!
If you come to our Rochester dentist office for sleep apnea treatment we’ll start by getting a detailed history of your symptoms. If you have a sleep partner who has noticed possible sleep apnea it may be helpful to bring them with you.
The first stage in diagnosing sleep apnea after our initial screening is an at-home sleep test. These can be done at-home or in a sleep study lab, and once we have the results we can decide how to proceed with treatment.
Almost all sleep apnea patients we see find relief from oral appliance usage. We custom fabricate our oral appliances from an impression of your mouth. Our sleep apnea appliances are designed to hold your jaw in a comfortable, relaxed position that not only keeps your jaw from blocking your throat but also holds your tongue forward to prevent it from relaxing backwards as well.
There are several different oral appliances available to treat different severities of sleep apnea and we’ll determine which is best for you once we have a diagnosis.
Don’t Take Risks: Get Treatment Now!
Sleep apnea is a serious condition that can shorten your life and leave you miserable during the daytime. We urge you to call our Rochester dentist office right away to be screened for sleep apnea. You don’t have to live with poor sleeping or a noisy partner anymore!