Your health can be seriously impacted by sleeping disorders such as sleep apnea. In this blog, our Oakville dentists talk about the dental appliances that are available to help treat sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea can be described as abnormal pauses in breathing (apneas) or shallow breathing when a person is sleeping. People get these apneas when there is a physical blockage of airflow, a lack of respiratory effort, or both.
The three kinds of sleep apnea are:
- Central sleep apnea
- Obstructive sleep apnea
- Complex sleep apnea syndrome (develops when a person has central sleep apnea and obstructive sleep apnea)
The Causes of Sleep Apnea
Your throat tissues, soft palate, and tongue relax when you drift into a deep sleep, for people who have sleep apnea, their soft palate and throat tissues over-relax, making them collapse into the back of the throat, causing a blockage in the airway.
When the airway is blocked, 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.
How are snoring and sleep apnea diagnosed?
Symptoms of sleep apnea include heavy snoring, headaches, migraines upon waking, restless sleep, excessive daytime fatigue, problems focusing, irritability, depression, and TMJ symptoms.
While loud snoring is a very well-known symptom and could be a sign of a potentially serious issue, not every person that has sleep apnea will experience snoring. If you have any symptoms of sleep apnea you should contact a medical professional that can provide you with an official diagnosis.
Once your issue has been diagnosed by a medical professional, your dentists can help you get a better night’s rest with a number of treatment options. We 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.
How Sleep Apnea Devices or Oral Appliances Can Help
Dental appliances could help your sleep apnea by moving your lower jaw further forward, effectively keeping your tongue away from your soft palate and throat, opening your airways. These dental appliances are:
- Easy to care for
- Easy to insert and remove
- Comfortable to wear
- Convenient for travel
- Quiet and not disruptive to any bed partners (unlike some sleep apnea machines)
Why it's Important to Treat Sleep Apnea
If you have sleep apnea, you will be unable to fall into a deep, restorative sleep that recharges your brain and body. This can play a roll 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 wellbeing.