If you are one of the millions of Americans that snore, this noisiness may or may not be caused by a condition known as sleep apnea. As a sleep apnea dentist, we can determine whether or not you have this disorder and find some ways to alleviate the problems associated with it. Read on to discover a few important facts about sleep apnea and how a dentist can help.
1. Sleep Apnea Is More Than Snoring
While many people snore, this isn’t the only symptom of sleep apnea. Obviously, your partner will hear the snoring, but if they also notice that you have pauses in breathing during sleep, this can be sign of sleep apnea, and this disorder is not just a nuisance to your partner, but also a condition that obstructs your breathing. Additionally, if you find that your snoring wakes you up quite often, this also is a sign of sleep apnea. Regular snoring typically doesn’t wake up the snorer, just the person sleeping next to them.
A few other symptoms include waking up regularly with a dry, sore throat and experiencing headaches in the morning. If you find that you experience chronic daytime sleepiness and difficulty with concentration, these are two other another indicators. High blood pressure and chest pain also are sometimes associated with sleep apnea. While not all snoring is sleep apnea, all people with sleep apnea snore. So, if you snore, be on the lookout for the aforementioned symptoms. Obviously, with the latter two symptoms (high blood pressure or chest pain), it is crucial that you schedule a doctor’s appointment as soon as possible regardless of whether or not sleep apnea is the cause.
2. Sleep Apnea Has Many Causes
There are many reasons why a person might have sleep apnea and need to visit a doctor or sleep apnea dentist. For some people, anatomy is the culprit, such as those with a thicker tongue or large tonsils or adenoids. Chronic sinus congestion also can be a cause, as well as a deviated septum. People with endocrine disorders also seem to be at a higher risk for sleep apnea, as well as people who have suffered strokes, have heart issues or kidney problems.
Sleep apnea also is common for those that are overweight or consume too much alcohol, as well as for smokers. For these individuals, weight control or avoiding alcoholic beverages and quitting smoking can be excellent ways to alleviate sleep apnea. If you sleep flat on your back, you also are at higher risk of developing sleep apnea. Unfortunately, age also is a factor, as our throats become a bit narrower as we get older and our muscle tone tends to decrease somewhat.
3. Receiving Treatment For Sleep Apnea Is Important
While you might think that sleep apnea isn’t serious, it actually does raise your risk for several serious medical conditions. These include heart disease and high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke and severe acid reflux. Furthermore, the snoring can affect your relationship with your partner. Although a person certainly does not choose to have sleep apnea, the constant snoring is disruptive to others and interrupts their sleep. When both partners are able to enjoy a good night’s sleep, this reduces irritability as well as your overall health. A healthy sleep boosts your immune system, as well, so if your partner’s sleep is disrupted by your snoring, seeking treatment can improve your health, your partner’s health and your relationship in general.
4. A Sleep Apnea Dentist Can Help
There are many treatments available for sleep apnea. Many people use what is known as a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) device. This is a face mask, worn at night, can alleviate sleep apnea. If your sleep apnea is caused by a deviated septum, large tonsils or another physical condition, surgery is sometimes an option. Lifestyle changes and changing your sleep position also can help ease sleep apnea.
Many people are surprised to learn that there are sleep apnea dentists that can provide treatment for this disorder. There are many treatment options for sleep apnea, including oral appliances. These are basically mouth guards that you wear only while sleeping, and these devices help keep your airway unobstructed. There are many different types of oral appliances, and a sleep apnea dentist can help you find the best possible option. Because sleep apnea is a medical condition, your medical insurance may cover the cost of this device. If you suffer from sleep apnea, feel free to make an appointment with us at any time to discuss your options.