Sleep apnea and other sleep disorders can have serious effects on your overall health. Today our Edmonton dentists talk about the dental appliances that can help you manage your sleep apnea.
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is described as abnormal pauses in breathing (apneas) or shallow breathing while a person sleeps. These apneas can happen as a result of a physical blockage of airflow, a lack of respiratory effort, or both.
What causes sleep apnea?
When you are falling into a deep sleep, your soft palate, throat tissues and tongue relax. When people have sleep apnea their throat tissues and soft palate over-relax, making them collapse into the back of your throat, blocking the airway.
When the airway becomes blocked, the oxygen flow ceases and your brain forces you to slightly wake up to consciously resume breathing. Episodes like this can happen hundreds of times in a single night, seriously disrupting your sleep.
How are snoring and sleep apnea diagnosed?
The symptoms of sleep apnea are restless sleep, heavy snoring, excessive day time fatigue, depression, headaches and migraines upon waking, problems focusing, irritability and TMJ symptoms. If you are experiencing any of these, talk to a medical professional so you can get a proper diagnosis.
After your issue is diagnosed by a medical professional, your dentists can us a variety of treatment options to help you get a better night’s sleep. We will perform a comprehensive examination of your teeth, tongue, airway and jaw, and potentially take an x-ray of your airway, to determine the right appliance for your needs.
What sleep apnea devices or oral appliances can help?
Dental appliances can assist you 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:
- Convenient for travel
- 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)
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 recharges your brain and body. This can play a roll in many medical disorders and diseases, and reduce your life’s quality and longevity.
By treating sleep apnea, your dentist can help you improve and protect your overall health and wellbeing.