A good night’s sleep has the power to restore the body and invigorate the mind. And if you’re one of the 18 million Americans who experience symptoms of sleep apnea, a good night’s sleep also has the power to save their lives.
Obstructive sleep apnea is a serious, life-threatening disorder typified as a series of episodes in which a person stops breathing for 10 seconds or longer during sleep.
So, how would you know if you are suffering from sleep apnea?
Snoring is a major indicator, but not all symptoms are so obvious or audible. Believe it or not, a dentist can detect the less obvious symptoms of sleep apnea through conversation about pain/discomfort and examination. A dentist may suspect a patient suffers from sleep apnea if the patient complains about lethargy, morning headaches, or dry mouth, which is typically caused by open mouth breathing during sleep.
Dentists are often the first medical professional to become aware of a potential problem since they are usually in contact with their patients more frequently than with physicians.
How is sleep apnea treated?
Treatment options for sleep apnea vary depending on the severity of the disorder. An individual with mild sleep apnea may need to make behavioral changes such as altering their sleeping position, losing weight, quitting smoking or wearing a dental appliance during sleep. This appliance looks similar to an athletic mouth guard and repositions the jaw and tongue to improve airflow.
We have undergone special training for the treatment of sleep apnea and are very skilled in its management using behavioral modification and dental appliances. Because sleep apnea can be a silent condition, it can go undiagnosed for many years, so it’s important to maintain open communication with your health care professionals to ensure that conditions such as sleep apnea can be identified and properly treated.
What Are the Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?
People with sleep apnea usually do not remember waking up during the night. Signs of a problem may include:
- Morning headaches;
- Excessive daytime sleepiness;
- Irritability and impaired mental or emotional functioning;
- Excessive snoring, choking, or gasping during sleep;
- Experiencing a dry mouth or sore throat upon awakening.
If you feel that you might be suffering from the effects of sleep apnea, call our office today to schedule an appointment.
This is a life-threatening condition that is not to be taken lightly!