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Dental Appliances Can Help You With Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea can have a drastic impact on your overall health and well-being. There are various dental appliances available to help treat sleep apnea, and today our Windsor dentists explain your options.

What Sleep Apnea Is

Sleep apnea is a condition that causes abnormal pauses in breathing (apneas) or shallow breathing while an individual sleeps. These apneas can occur due to a physical blockage of airflow, a lack of respiratory effort, or both.

There are three types of sleep apnea:

  • Obstructive sleep apnea 
  • Central sleep apnea 
  • Complex sleep apnea syndrome (occurs when someone has obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea)

The Causes Of Sleep Apnea

When you drift into deep sleep, your throat tissues, soft palate and tongue relax. For those with sleep apnea, the throat tissues and soft palate over-relax, causing them to collapse into the back of your throat, blocking the airway.

When the airway become obstructed, the flow of oxygen ceases, and as a result your brain forces you to wake up slightly to consciously resume breathing. These episodes may happen hundreds of times a night, seriously disrupting your sleep.

Diagnosing Snoring & Sleep Apnea

The main symptoms of sleep apnea include headaches and migraines when you wake up, restless sleep, fatigue during the day, heavy snoring, trouble focusing irritability, depression and TMJ symptoms.

Though loud snoring is a common symptom and may indicate a potentially serious problem, some people with sleep apnea may not even snore. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should visit a medical professional so you can receive a proper diagnosis.

Once you've been diagnosed by your doctor, your dentists can offer a number of treatment options that may help you achieve a more restful night's sleep. Your dentist 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.

Sleep Apnea Devices Or Oral Appliances That Can 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:

  • Comfortable to wear
  • Easy to take care of
  • Convenient for packing when you travel
  • Easy to insert and remove
  • Quiet and not disruptive to any bed partners (unlike some sleep apnea machines)

Why You Should Treat Sleep Apnea

If you suffer from sleep apnea, you will fall asleep but be unable to reach a deep, restorative sleep that will allow your body and brain to recharge. This can play a role in many medical disorders and diseases, and reduce your life’s quality and longevity.

Complications can include a wide range of conditions from metabolic syndrome and high blood sugar, which is linked to an increased risk of heart disease. You may also experience heart problems, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes and resistance to insulin. Because of your daytime fatigue, you may be at an increased risk of workplace or motor vehicle accidents.

By treating sleep apnea, your dentist can help you improve and protect your overall health and well-being.

To learn more about sleep apnea and treatment options that can help, contact the dentists at Eastside Dental.

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