Snoring and Sleep Apnea Treatment
The Greek word “apnea” means without breath. According to the American Sleep Apnea Association, more than 22 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea. Unfortunately, the numbers are likely much higher because it often goes undiagnosed. Sleep apnea is rarely discussed at routine doctor visits, and sufferers often do not realize that their fatigue and other mysterious symptoms are caused by interrupted sleep.
Obstructive sleep apnea (the most common form of sleep apnea) occurs when your throat anatomy or tissue at the back of your throat blocks your airway. Obstructive sleep apnea can negatively affect your health and your quality of life.
Risk Factors for OSA
While anyone can have OSA, certain risk factors increase your chances of suffering from it. Some of those risk factors include:
- Being overweight or obese
- Age (over 40)
- Being African American
- Having a thick neck circumference
- Certain medications
- Alcohol use
- Drug use
The most common symptom of OSA is loud snoring. Unless a partner complains that you keep them awake, you may not even realize that you snore. If you wake up with a dry, sore, or irritated throat, you may be snoring in your sleep.
Another common symptom is daytime drowsiness and fatigue. If you suspect you have sleep apnea and feel tired throughout the day, despite being in bed for an adequate amount of time, you should see a doctor to rule out sleep apnea.
What Happens During the Night
When you suffer from OSA, you stop breathing for short intervals throughout the night. This can happen from a few times per night to hundreds of times each night. Each time you stop breathing, your brain signals your body to awaken slightly. You may not even realize you are waking up, but the sleep cycle is interrupted. This constant waking and breathing disruption has serious consequences.
Health Complications from Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea causes disrupted sleep as well as the inability to acquire adequate oxygen during the night. Both of these consequences have serious health implications such as:
- Heart disease
- Mood disorders
Because you lack adequate sleep, you are also more likely to have an accident while operating a vehicle or machinery, putting others at risk.
Treatment for Obstructive Sleep Apnea
At Trinity Dental Care, we treat many cases of snoring and sleep apnea with an oral appliance as an alternative to CPAP treatment, which is cumbersome and inconvenient. Oral appliances used to treat sleep apnea gently open your airway by nudging your lower jaw forward to clear your airway. Many patients find relief from oral appliances and report getting used to them quickly and easily. Because they are small and custom made specifically for you, they are comfortable, compact, and effective for most patients.
Do You Have Sleep Apnea?
If you have a sleep apnea diagnosis and would like an alternative to using the CPAP machine for treatment, contact our Westwood, NJ dental office so we can share your options with you and help you get a good night’s sleep!