Sleep apnea and other sleep disorders can have a serious impact on your health. Numerous dental appliances are available to help treat sleep apnea. Here, our Abbotsford dentists explain the options.
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is marked by abnormal pauses in breathing (apneas) or shallow breathing while a person sleeps. Apneas can happen due to the airflow being physically blocked, a lack of respiratory effort, or both.
What causes sleep apnea?
When you drift into deep sleep, your throat tissues, soft palate and tongue relax. For those with sleep apnea, the throat tissues and soft palate over-relax, causing them to collapse into the back of your throat, blocking the airway.
When the airway is blocked, the flow of oxygen ceases, and as a result your brain forces you to wake up slightly to consciously resume breathing. These episodes may happen hundreds of times a night, seriously disrupting your sleep.
How are snoring and sleep apnea diagnosed?
Symptoms of sleep apnea may include heavy snoring, migraines and headaches on waking, excessive daytime fatigue, restless sleep, TMJ symptoms, problems focusing and irritability and depression. If you experience any of these signs, you should book an appointment with a medical professional so you can be properly diagnosed.
Once a medical professional has diagnosed your issue, your dentists can recommend numerous options, including lifestyle changes, to help you get a better night's rest. We will perform a full examination of your teeth, airway, jaw and tongue.
What sleep apnea devices or oral appliances can help?
Dental appliances can help by positioning your lower jaw further forward, effectively pulling your tongue away from the throat and the soft palate to open your airway. These dental appliances are:
- Easy to care for
- Comfortable to wear
- Easy to insert and remove
- Quiet and not disruptive to any bed partners (unlike some sleep apnea machines)
- Convenient for travel
Why is it important to treat sleep apnea?
If you have sleep apnea, you will be unable to fall into a deep, restorative sleep that leaves your brain and body recharged. This can play a role in many medical disorders and diseases, and reduce the quality and longevity of your life.
By treating sleep apnea, your dentist can help you improve and protect your overall health and wellbeing.