Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that involves interruptions in breathing throughout the night. In some cases, patients who suffer from sleep apnea can stop breathing completely for minutes before starting again. Loud snoring can be an indication that you may be suffering from sleep apnea.
There are two main types of sleep apnea:
- Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA): This is the most common form of sleep apnea. OSA occurs when the collapse of the soft tissue at the back of the throat causes the airway to become blocked.
- Central sleep apnea: In this form of sleep apnea, the brain, which is part of the central nervous system, fails to send a signal to the muscles responsible for controlling breathing.
Symptoms of sleep apnea can include: loud snoring (it is important to remember that not all those who snore necessarily have sleep apnea), chronic episodes of starting and stopping breathing throughout the night as witnessed by a partner or family member, shortness of breath, dry mouth or sore throat, headaches, insomnia (trouble falling or staying asleep), daytime drowsiness, inability to concentrate, and irritability.
As sleep apnea can be a risk for high blood pressure, it is important that you speak with a health professional as soon as possible. Your dentist at Turner Dental can work with you to determine whether you suffer from this condition.
A dental appliance specifically designed to help alleviate sleep apnea can be custom made for you by Turner Dental. These dental devices are successful in treating mild to moderate sleep apnea, and they are often more comfortable than continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) masks, which are also commonly used as a form of treatment. Resembling a sports mouthguard, they fit over the upper and lower teeth and are supported by the upper and lower dental arches. By pushing the tongue and throat muscles forward, dental appliances designed for sleep apnea use suction to keep these muscles from collapsing back into the airway.
Although over-the-counter devices are available on the market and might seem tempting because of their affordability, these are not recommended as they can actually make your condition worse. Contact us today for a consultation and Turner Dental will work with you to determine a treatment plan that is right for you.