Sleep apnea is a condition where the individual experiences shallow breathing or a complete stoppage in breathing during periods of sleep. In many cases, the patient may not even realize they are suffering from this problem. A partner may be the first one to notice issues as symptoms include snoring or an abrupt awakening with choking or snorting sounds. The patient may suspect there is a problem when experiencing fatigue daily.
With obstructive sleep apnea, the soft tissues in the mouth and throat relax during sleep blocking the airway. The patient can literally stop breathing hundreds of times during the night. This can mean oxygen deprivation leading to medical problems like high blood pressure, heart attack, or stroke (among other illnesses). Lack of sleep can result in daytime drowsiness. This can be critical for people who must remain alert such as long distance drivers, medical personnel, air traffic controllers – the need to be rested is important to all of us.
If concerned about sleep apnea, there are initial things you can try. Avoid consuming alcohol; do not take medications designed to promote relaxation; lose a few pounds; or sleep on your side as these ideas may help.
However, a visit with the dentist may provide a solution that will finally bring that restful night’s sleep you have coveted.
Your dentist can fabricate a device similar to a mouth guard. When the mouthpiece is in place, oral soft tissues and the tongue are held in positions that prevent their collapse resulting in blocking the airway that halts breathing.
An absolute diagnosis of sleep apnea involves participation in a sleep study. There are no medical tests to make this determination. A device such as a CPAP mask may be recommended, but for many is uncomfortable, and can result in further disruptive sleep.
The mouth guard made by your dentist is comfortable, easy to use, and can easily travel with you making business trips and vacations a better experience. An adjustment period may be needed, so do not give up if the mouth guard feels awkward at first. A return visit to your dentist may be recommended to maximize the effectiveness and comfort for wearing your mouth guard.
Sleep apnea can be very serious, but there are solutions to bring relief. To learn more about your treatment options, contact Richardson Dentistry at (972) 218-0078 and schedule your informative consultation today.