Sleepless in Seattle

Do you have trouble getting enough sleep at night and feeling rested in the morning? Many adults share this concern, but for some, it’s specifically caused by a condition called sleep apnea.

Sleep Apnea Defined

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which a patient repeatedly stops breathing for 10 or more seconds while they sleep. People commonly suffer from obstructive sleep apnea specifically, which means that the breath stops because of an obstruction in the airway. This causes oxygen deprivation, which puts the patient at risk for many health problems.

Signs of Sleep Apnea

People who have chronic sleep apnea are usually unaware that their breath is stopping many times throughout the night, as they can’t remember it when they wake up. But you may be aware of other signs of sleep apnea—or clues that you might be at risk—including:

  • A feeling that you never get enough rest, even after a full night of sleep.
  • Dry mouth when you wake up.
  • Challenges falling asleep.
  • Extreme fatigue.
  • Mood swings.
  • Memory loss.
  • Muscle tremors.
  • Unexplained headaches.
  • Falling asleep during the day.
  • A family history of sleep apnea.
  • Nasal blockages caused by allergies or other causes.

Also, men experience sleep apnea at a higher rate than women. If you think you may have sleep apnea, look up a sleep study center near you. A doctor can give you a diagnosis, and help you identify the type of sleep apnea you’re experiencing.

Sleep Apnea and Dentistry

How is sleep apnea related to dentistry? The most common form of this condition, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), is caused by a blockage in the airway. This is often simply the patient’s own oral tissues moving into the airway. This can be caused by the tissues changing as a patient ages, their sleeping position, their jaw position, and other factors.

When tissues meet each other around the airway as the patient sleeps, they vibrate and cause snoring, which interrupts the sleeper’s breathing but does not wake them up. This can lead to oxygen deprivation, fatigue, headaches, and other problems.

Sleep Apnea Oral Appliance

What is the solution? Here at Tower Dental, we can help treat sleep apnea with a sleep apnea oral appliance. We can give you a custom mouthguard to fit your mouth, which will only be worn at night while you sleep. If it’s the right solution for you, it will gently move your lower jaw into a new position that opens the airway and lets your breath come easily again.

A mouthguard can make snoring disappear for some patients. This will provide more oxygen to your whole body during the night, which makes other symptoms, such as fatigue, disappear as well.

Because dentists routinely work with teeth, jawbones, jaw joints, and oral tissues, we are uniquely well-suited to relieve obstructive sleep apnea.

CPAP Compared to Oral Appliances

You may have heard of people treating snoring or sleep apnea with a device known as a CPAP machine. The CPAP is a common treatment that has been prescribed to snorers and sleep apnea sufferers for years. CPAP machines involve wearing a mask connected through a tube to a machine next to the bed. This pushes air through the airway for the patient so they don’t stop breathing.

However, this treatment can be uncomfortable, awkward to travel with, and distractingly loud to fall asleep with. An oral appliance is an excellent alternative in those situations. It is small and portable. It is comfortable to wear. It doesn’t require electricity and doesn’t make any noise. In many cases it can actually reduce noise by stopping snoring.

Sleep Better With Help from Tower Dental

If you might have sleep apnea, it may be time to visit a sleep study center and find out for yourself. If you have obstructive sleep apnea, call Tower Dental for a sleep apnea mouthguard evaluation. Your health can improve, and your family may thank you for less snoring. Call us today!

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