Sleep Apnea Treatments and Solutions
What is Sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a common, but serious condition that causes your breathing to become short & shallow or stop altogether momentarily. Pauses in breath typically occur for only a few seconds, but can sometimes last up to a minute. These pauses in breathing lowers oxygen levels throughout the body causing many different types of health effects, some of which can be very serious such as diabetes & hypertension.
💡 Did you know?
With sleep apnea, it’s common for your breathing to pause up to more than 30 times in an hour!
What causes this to occur?
There are two types of sleep apnea – central sleep apnea & obstructive. In central, your brain does not send the signals needed to the rest of the body in order to breathe. This form is more rare. In the vast majority of sleep apnea cases, obstruction of the airways is to blame. When your airways collapse or are blocked during sleep, it will cause snoring, snorting, and even choking sounds. If you share a bed with someone suffering from sleep apnea, you’ve likely heard these noises! The collapse happens from the muscles in the back of your throat relaxing too much while sleeping, due to weakness in the support structures for the throat muscles (such as your jaw and it’s connecting tissues). With neuromuscular dentistry, we can determine what parts of this support system is the root cause of your sleep apnea.
💡 Did you know?
Sleep apnea is more likely in men, although women & even children may suffer from the sleep disorder.
How do I know I have sleep apnea?
Typical & immediate symptoms of sleep apnea are:
- Restless/trouble sleeping
- Dry mouth when waking
- Brain fog & lack of mental “sharpness”
- Sleepiness during the day
If not treated early, sleep apnea can contribute to more debilitating health conditions. These include:
- Anxiety or depression
- High blood pressure
- Cardiac problems
- Memory issues
Certain people are naturally at a higher risk for sleep apnea. Males are more likely to develop the condition than females, with older adults more likely vs young. Those with current health conditions such as diabetes or obesity also have a higher risk. Finally, certain lifestyle habits such as smoking and consuming alcohol regularly can increase your likelihood of developing sleep apnea.
What can you do to fix it?
Through advanced techniques and sleep diagnostics, Bynum Aesthetic Dentistry can now predictably diagnose sleep apnea and determine which professional to see in the process of treatment. Sometimes appliance therapy will assist, while CPAP assistance is needed in other situations.
CPAPs are the most common method for treating sleep apnea. CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure, and the machine does just that. It puts pressure on your airways to help push them open while breathing. The user wears the breathing mask while sleeping to help ensure continuous breathing.
Another form of treatment is through the use of a mouthguard. This technique is called oral appliance therapy. The mouthguards look very similar to ones you see athletes wear. They keep the jaw in forward alignment to minimize potential for the airways to collapse during sleep.
Sometimes oral surgery is recommended. This surgery will correct sleep apnea by removing tissue in the throat to open up airways or by correcting alignment issues related to the jaw and connecting muscles or tissues.
Regardless, we can help in determining who to see and how to help. Don’t let another sleepless night go by. Call for your consultation today!