Sleep apnea is a serious medical condition that affects your sleep. This sleep disorder causes you to repeatedly stop and start breathing. There are several ways to detect if you suffer from sleep apnea, though most may require someone to observe your sleep patterns. These signs include heavy snoring, your breathing completely stopping, feeling exhausted immediately after you wake up for the day, difficulty falling asleep, gasping for air during your sleep, excessive daytime sleepiness, dry mouth in the morning or a morning headache. If you need help identifying your sleep apnea, Stansell Dentistry Associates can offer you a solution.
Different Types of Sleep Apnea
There are three types of sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common type of sleep apnea and involves the throat muscles relaxing too much while you sleep. When your throat muscle relaxes, it causes your airways to either narrow or completely close when you inhale. Your body cannot get enough oxygen, which causes your brain to wake you up from your sleep to reopen the airways. This can result in gasping, choking or snorting excessively during the night. If you are an older male, there is a higher possibility of having obstructive sleep apnea. Other risk factors include using muscle relaxers, and alcohols can worsen or cause this type of sleep apnea as well.
Central sleep apnea is the second type of sleep apnea. It is less common among sleep apnea sufferers but can be just as taxing on your body. Central sleep apnea occurs when your brain cannot transmit signals to the muscles used for breathing. This can leave you short of period, make it difficult to get to sleep, and make it difficult to stay asleep. Older men are more prone to central sleep apnea. People with heart disorders or who have recently suffered a stroke may also have central sleep apnea.
How Is Sleep Apnea Diagnosed?
Detecting sleep apnea is difficult and requires that you go to a sleep disorder center to be further evaluated. You will be hooked up to nocturnal polysomnography, which monitors your lungs, arm, and leg movements, brain activity, breathing patterns, and blood oxygen levels. This is necessary to get proper results to see how you function while you sleep.
Your doctor may also provide you with a home sleep test. This is like nocturnal polysomnography that also measures your heart rate, airflow, blood oxygen levels, and breathing patterns. It is important to follow the doctors’ orders if you decide to do a home sleep test. Improper results may hinder your ability to get the results you want.
Treatment Options for Sleep Apnea
There are several treatment options available for sufferers of sleep apnea. If you suffer from moderate to severe sleep apnea, your doctor might recommend a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) that helps to open your upper airway passages. Other machines work similarly including the auto-CPAP and the bilevel positive airway pressure system (BPAP). Oral appliances open your throat and bring your jaw forward.
Oral Appliance Therapy
Oral appliance therapy is similar to a night mouthguard that you wear inside your mouth except that it extends a little deeper to penetrate your throat. What this device does is prevents your breathing passage from becoming blocked while you sleep, assisting you to rest soundly through the night.
Prevents Dry Mouth and Dry Nose
There are a few different issues with which an oral appliance therapy can help. People who suffer from sleep apnea often end up with a dry mouth and dry nose which makes it even more difficult for them to breathe. Not only does breathing become difficult, but your throat will quickly become sore and irritated as a result. The use of an oral appliance not only helps your mouth stay moist but it also makes you feel more comfortable as you try to sleep.
The minute people hear about an oral device, they automatically imagine a large device that needs to be fitted into the mouth. Contrary to what you might believe, an oral appliance therapy device is a small tool that conveniently slips into your mouth without causing any sort of discomfort. This device is easy to use and will not interfere with your sleep cycle at all. It is easy to adjust to oral appliances for sleep apnea and it is also small enough to carry with you throughout the day.
Comfortable To Use
Some people are quite skeptical about using an oral device because they think that it will be uncomfortable to wear. Our professionals understand that you want to be as comfortable as possible while you sleep. That is why we will carefully construct your oral device in a way that does not interfere with your mouth or put any pressure on your jaw whatsoever. That means that you can sleep without discomfort and wake up feeling refreshed.
Because oral appliances are easy to use and easy to transport, you should be able to use them even when traveling, ensuring that your airway remains unobstructed every night. As you continue to use the appliance, you will find the symptoms of sleep apnea – exhaustion, irritability, and a sore throat – fade away as your body recovers the sleep it needs to function in your everyday life.
It's no secret that sleep apnea doesn’t have a cure. That does not mean that you cannot improve the way you live your life with this condition, however, or minimize its disruption to your sleep. While there is no foolproof remedy available, there are treatment options, including oral appliance therapy, that not only help to improve the symptoms you are experiencing but also assist with better sleeping. If you suffer from sleep apnea and you are wondering how you can treat this condition, please call Stansell Dentistry Associates at 984-477-0177 or visit our office today to schedule an appointment.