Sleep apnea can have serious consequences on your health and wellbeing. That's why our Parksville dentists are talking to you about the dental appliances that you can use to help your sleep apnea.
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is when you have abnormal breathing pauses (apneas) or breath shallowly when you sleep. You can have apneas when there is either a physical blockage of airflow, a lack of respiratory effort, or both.
The three types of sleep apnea are:
- Obstructive sleep apnea
- Central sleep apnea
- Complex sleep apnea syndrome (occurs when someone has obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea)
What causes sleep apnea?
When you drift off into a deep slumber, your tongue, soft palate and throat tissues relax. When you have sleep apnea your soft palate and throat tissues over-relax, making them collapse into the back of your throat, blocking the airway.
When your airway becomes blocked, the flow of oxygen halts, and your brain makes you to wake up slightly to consciously resume breathing. This could happen hundreds of times in one night, seriously disturbing your sleep.
How is snoring and sleep apnea diagnosed?
Symptoms of sleep apnea include heavy snoring, headaches and migraines upon waking, restless sleep, excessive daytime fatigue, problems focusing, irritability, depression and TMJ symptoms.
Though loud snoring is a notorious symptom and may indicate a potentially serious problem, not everyone who has sleep apnea will snore. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should visit a medical professional so you can receive a proper diagnosis.
Once your issue has been diagnosed by a medical professional, your dentists can help you get a better night’s rest with a number of treatment options. We will complete a full examination of your teeth, tongue, airway and jaw, and potentially take an x-ray of your airway, to determine the right appliance for your needs.
How can oral appliances or sleep apnea devices help?
Dental appliances can help by positioning your lower jaw further forward, effectively pulling your tongue away from the throat and the soft palate to open your airway. These dental appliances are:
- Easy to care for
- Easy to insert and remove
- Comfortable to wear
- Convenient for travel
- Quiet and not disruptive to any bed partners (unlike some sleep apnea machines)
Why it's important to treat sleep apnea
If you suffer from sleep apnea, you wont be able to sleep deeply, or have a restorative sleep that recharges your brain and body. This condition can have a part in a vast range of medical diseases and conditions, and as a result lower the quality and longevity of your life.
Sleep apnea can cause a large variety of complications and illnesses including heart problems, type 2 diabetes, resistance to insulin and metabolic syndrome and high blood sugar which is connected to an increased risk of heart disease. Because sleep apnea creates daytime fatigue, it could also be putting you at risk of having a work place or vehicle accident.
When your dentist treats your sleep apnea they are helping to protect and improve the quality of your wellbeing and overall health.