Sleep apnea is a very common sleep disorder. There are several different types, but the most prevalent is called “obstructive sleep apnea,” or OSA for short. This condition occurs when the soft tissue in the mouth and palate relax, sagging into the airway and blocking breathing while you sleep for up to 10 seconds or longer.
In the short-term, this leads to poor quality sleep and daytime drowsiness, among other symptoms. And in the long term, frequent interruptions in sleep can raise the risk of stroke and heart disease.
While it can happen to anyone, risk factors for apnea include obesity, tobacco use, being male, advanced age, and regular use of alcohol or sedatives. Learn more below, or contact New Essence Dentistry today to get the help you need.
Sleep apnea is one of the most common sleep disorders in America, and many people who have apnea have never been diagnosed. If you suspect you have apnea, you should schedule a consultation with your physician right away.
Your sleeping partner may notice this, and it’s one of the most common signs of sleep apnea. Snoring alone is not enough to diagnose apnea, but if your breathing frequently pauses, or you wake up gasping or feeling like you’re choking, this is a very common sign of sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea may make it harder for you to fall asleep, and lead you to toss and turn. You may also not feel properly rested, even after getting 7-8 hours of sleep.
Constantly waking up with a sore throat or a dry mouth is a common sign of apnea. You may also suffer from headaches when you wake up in the morning.
If you wake up in the morning and feel tired, or you continue to feel drowsy throughout the day even after getting an appropriate amount of sleep, you may have sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea can lead to trouble paying attention and concentrating throughout the day, since you will not be properly rested. If you notice issues concentrating along with the other signs on this list, it could be due to apnea.
Yes. There are a few different treatments available for sleep apnea. CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machines have been used for decades to help with its symptoms. This device uses a comfortable face mask and a pump that sends gently-pressurized air directly into the airway. This helps prevent tissue collapse, and relieves the symptoms of OSA.
A newer treatment used by dentists like Dr. Jeron Winslow is oral appliance therapy (OAT). In this type of therapy, a special night guard is made that shifts the jaw forward and repositions it to eliminate soft tissue sagging during sleep. Compared to a CPAP, an oral appliance from New Essence Dentistry is less expensive, does not require a bulky machine, and doesn’t require electrical power, so it’s much more convenient and easy to transport.
Dentists may even recommend orthodontic treatment with braces or clear aligners for patients with narrow palates or serious jaw position issues, as this may help improve breathing at night.
In addition, lifestyle changes are usually recommended to control apnea. Smoking cessation, cessation of alcohol or sedative use, and weight loss are common steps recommended by doctors.