When is the last time you felt like you got a really good night of sleep? How long has it been since you woke up totally refreshed with enough energy to last you throughout the day?
If you’re not getting the sleep you deserve, sleep apnea could be to blame. And unfortunately, sleep apnea could be affecting a lot more than just your quality of sleep.
At Biggers Family Dentistry, we’ll get you the right diagnosis and, if you do have sleep apnea, come up with a treatment plan that is just right for you.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Fun fact: the word “apnea” is Greek and means “without breath.” So it makes sense that by definition, sleep apnea is a disorder in which you involuntarily, repeatedly stop breathing while you sleep. There are two types of sleep apnea but doctors will often refer to a third type which is essentially some sort of combination of the two.
Obstructive sleep apnea, OSA, is the most common type. OSA occurs when the airway becomes blocked, usually by the relaxation of the soft tissue at the back of the throat during sleep.
Central sleep apnea occurs when the brain doesn’t send the necessary signal to the muscles to breathe because of a problem with the respiratory control center.
In many cases, the person with sleep apnea may not even be aware they’re stopping breathing at night. So how can you tell if you might have sleep apnea?
Symptoms Of Sleep Apnea
Pay attention to the sleep apnea symptoms listed below and see how many of them apply to you. If you have someone who sleeps with you every night, ask them if they notice any of the following symptoms as well.
- Loud snoring
- A sore or a dry throat upon waking
- Occasionally being woken by a gasping or choking feeling
- A lack of energy throughout the day
- Sleepiness while driving
- Chronic headaches, especially in the morning
- Restless sleep
- Mood changes and forgetfulness
- Insomnia or recurrent awakenings
The Dangers Of Untreated Sleep Apnea
No matter what type of sleep apnea you have, if it’s left untreated, there are serious consequences. If you have sleep apnea, you could stop breathing as many as hundreds of times a night, often for a full minute or longer, without even knowing it. As you might have guessed, that isn’t exactly good for your health.
If left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to several very serious health conditions including:
- Worsening ADHD
- High blood pressure
- Irregular heartbeats, heart failure, or heart attacks
Keep in mind that these conditions can potentially be avoided if you seek proper treatment for sleep apnea and don’t wait too long to do so.
Sleep Apnea Treatment
Once you’ve read through the information above, you should have a basic understanding of sleep apnea and why it’s important to seek treatment as soon as possible. If you think you could have sleep apnea, you may be feeling a bit uneasy right now.
The good news is that treatment and relief from your symptoms could be just a phone call away. At Biggers Family Dentistry, we offer an oral appliance that can help patients with obstructive sleep apnea, the most common type.
However, if you see us for a consultation and we determine that you likely have central sleep apnea, we can refer you to a specialist for proper treatment.
For patients with OSA, the oral appliance we can custom-design for you will help keep your airway open. The appliance works by gently pushing your lower jaw our just enough to prevent your throat from becoming blocked.
In most cases, the appliance will relieve your snoring which is great news for you and your family members!
Many people find that they much prefer the oral appliance to a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine, which is another commonly used treatment for sleep apnea. The oral appliance we offer is much less obstructive and more comfortable to wear while you sleep. It’s also silent, unlike some CPAPs which can be noisy and annoying to the person you sleep next to. The oral appliance is also easier to travel with given that it’s pocket-sized, unlike the bulkier CPAP machine that requires electrical outlets.
It’s Not Worth The Risk! Schedule An Appointment Today
If you think you could have sleep apnea, call Biggers Family Dentistry today to learn more about how we can relieve your symptoms, prevent more serious health complications, and improve your quality of sleep.