Sleep apnea is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition if left untreated. Doctors and healthcare professionals have noticed that it is a problem that is becoming more and more common among adults in the U.S.
Sleep apnea disrupts breathing, fragments normal sleep patterns, and lowers oxygen levels in the body. If you’re struggling with excessive snoring and sleeplessness, it may be time to give your dentist a call. No, you didn’t read that wrong — we said to call your dentist. That’s because your oral health may be the reason why you’re experiencing issues with obstructive sleep apnea. A dentist does not only perform cosmetic dental procedures — they may also be the key to diagnosing sleep disorders in their earliest stages.
You don’t have to start the new year suffering from this condition. Your sleep apnea dentist in San Diego can provide you with effective treatment solutions so that you can take control of your life and enjoy sleep again.
What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea is a dangerous health condition that causes a person to stop and start breathing repeatedly while they are asleep. There are different types of sleep apnea, but obstructive sleep apnea is the most common. This condition causes the throat muscles to relax periodically, which restricts the airways and makes it difficult to breathe.
One of the telltale signs of obstructive sleep apnea is loud snoring, but there are other symptoms to look out for, too.
Signs and Symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Are you concerned that you may be suffering from sleep apnea? Loud snoring isn’t the only symptom that you may encounter. Here are some of the other warning signs that you should take note of:
• Excessive tiredness during the daytime
• Short episodes of not breathing while asleep
• Waking abruptly to coughing, gasping, or choking
• Constant headaches
• Dry mouth or sore throat
• Difficulty focusing during the day
• High blood pressure (hypertension)
• Night sweats
• Loss of libido
• Mood changes such as depression or irritability
Health Factors That May Contribute to Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea can affect anyone at any time. However, certain factors may put you at higher risk for this sleep disorder. These include:
• Excess Weight: Being overweight doesn’t always mean that you will experience sleep apnea, but it certainly increases your risk. This is because fat deposits around the upper portion of your airway and make it harder for you to breathe. Other medical conditions such as hypothyroidism and polycystic ovary syndrome can also lead to sleep apnea disorder.
• Nasal Congestion: Narrowed airways can cause some people to experience chronic nasal congestion at night.
• Narrowed Airways: A narrow airway is a condition that some people are naturally born with. In some cases, enlarged tonsils or adenoids can also obstruct airways, making it difficult to breathe.
• Smoking: In addition to being bad for your overall health, smoking can also trigger sleep apnea.
• Diabetes: People with diabetes are at higher risk of experiencing obstructive sleep apnea.
• Asthma: Studies have shown that there is a high correlation between asthma and obstructive sleep apnea.
• Family History of Sleep Apnea: If you have family members who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, you may be at higher risk.
How Your Sleep Apnea Dentist in San Diego Can Help Treat Your Condition
During your examination, your dentist will look for certain signs that may indicate a sleep apnea condition. People who suffer from sleep apnea often grind their teeth. Your dentist will look for excessive wear and tear on your teeth, as well as broken teeth and receding gum lines.
Damaged teeth are more susceptible to bacteria, so a spike in cavities may also be evidence of some sort of sleep disorder.
After consulting with your dentist, you may be referred to a physician or sleep specialist who might suggest that you participate in an overnight sleep study, known as a polysomnography. The study will provide a clear picture of how often your breathing is interrupted during sleep and will also measure your heart rate and blood oxygen levels.
Getting Oral Devices for Sleep Apnea Treatment
If you are looking to treat a sleep apnea condition, it is best to consult with a dentist who specializes in sleep medicine. He or she will be able to create an appropriate treatment plan to help alleviate your symptoms.
You should, however, avoid using over-the-counter devices. Though these products may offer a quick, cheap solution, they often only help with snoring and fail to address the symptoms you may be experiencing.
Millions of people in the United States are affected by sleep apnea. The good news is that there are many treatment options to help manage this condition.
Your dentist may recommend a sleep apnea dental appliance to help treat your sleep disorder. Two main dental appliances may be used: A mandibular advancement device (MADS) or a tongue-retaining mouthpiece.
Mandibular Advancement Devices
MADs look similar to athletic mouth guards. They fit over your top and bottom sets of teeth and have a hinge that connects the two trays in the middle. The device is designed to hold the lower jaw and tongue in a forward position so that your airway isn’t blocked during sleep.
MADs can be adjusted by your dentist to achieve maximum comfort and effectiveness.
Tongue-retaining mouthpieces are an ideal solution for sleep apnea sufferers who also have minimal jaw flexibility. These oral devices keep your airways clear while you sleep by preventing your tongue from blocking your throat. It fits around your tongue and keeps it in position by using the force of a light suction.
Find the Best Solution to Treat Your Sleep Apnea
If you’re a sleep apnea sufferer, don’t wait another moment to get a successful treatment plan in place. Searching the web for “sleep apnea dentist near me” will bring up a ton of results, but if you want to eliminate the guesswork, contact Landmark Dental Arts for professional service you can trust.
We’ll help you effectively diagnose and treat any sleep disorders you may have so that you can finally enjoy a good night’s rest. Schedule your appointment today!