Sleep apnea is a dangerous sleep disorder that without treatment, can be life-threatening. Many people do not think about talking to a dentist about his or her sleep issues, when, in fact, dentists can help a great deal. At McDonald DDS, we help patients with their sleep apnea issues all of the time, finding them a non-invasive, yet effective way to manage it.
Understanding Sleep Apnea
Most patients have obstructive sleep apnea. As the name suggests, there is an obstruction that makes it difficult for you to breathe when you sleep. This may cause you to snore or to have a disruptive sleep. The most common reason is excessive throat tissue that gets in the way when you lay down.
Another type of sleep apnea, which is not as common, is central sleep apnea. Rather than an obstruction causing the difficulty breathing, the brain does not signal the muscles, telling them to breathe. Central sleep apnea co-occurs with stroke and heart issues, most commonly.
Signs of Sleep Apnea
You probably will not be able to tell that you have sleep apnea on your own, but some patients have a feeling about it. If you constantly wake up feeling as if you did not sleep, you may have sleep apnea. Other signs you may notice include difficulty concentrating during the day or falling asleep mid-day even though you think you slept all night.
Most commonly, though, patients find out about the chance of sleep apnea from a partner that tells them that they snore a lot. If you snore loudly no matter which position you sleep in, it may be a result of the obstruction in the back of your throat.
Treating Sleep Apnea
We are the experts in treating sleep apnea. We offer two viable options, depending on the complexity of your sleep apnea. Many patients use the CPAP machine or the Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machine. While it seems obnoxious to wear a mask while you sleep, it pushes air into your body, ensuring that your organs get the appropriate amount of oxygen while you sleep. This allows you to get a better night’s rest, despite wearing a mask while you sleep.
If you cannot handle the CPAP mask or it does not work, we also have an oral appliance that you can wear at night. You only wear it to sleep as it pushes your jaw forward enough to stop the obstruction. With a properly positioned jaw, you should be able to get a good night’s rest without snoring or difficulty breathing.
As a last resort, you may need surgery to remove the obstruction, whether it is extra folds in your throat, your tonsils, or other tissues. Our patients prefer to try to the other methods first to see if they can get some relief though.
Are you interested in learning more about sleep apnea? Give us a call at (469) 649-0699. We are happy to help you learn more about your smile!
Or book an appointment with us online today!