Sleep disorders including sleep apnea can have serious consequences on your health. Today there is a range of oral appliances that can help resolve sleep apnea and its symptoms. In this blog our Vancouver dentists talk to you about these products and how they can help.
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is know as abnormal pauses in breathing called apneas, or shallow breathing while someone sleeps. These apneas can occur because of a physical blockage in airflow, a lack of respiratory effort, or both.
The causes of sleep apnea
When you fall into deep sleep, your throat tissues, soft palate and tongue become relaxed. When people have sleep apnea, their throat tissues and soft palate over-relax, making them collapse into the back of their throat, blocking the airway.
When a person's airway is blocked, the flow of oxygen ceases, and the brain makes them wake up slightly to consciously resume breathing. These episodes can happen hundreds of times in a night, seriously disrupting sleep.
How snoring and sleep apnea is diagnosed
Symptoms of sleep apnea include heavy snoring, headaches and migraines upon waking, restless sleep, excessive daytime fatigue, problems focusing, irritability, depression and TMJ symptoms. If you experience any of these symptoms, visit a medical professional to get an official diagnosis.
When your issue is diagnosed by a medical professional, your dentist can help you get a better night’s sleep with a number of treatment options. Your dentist can conduct 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.
What sleep apnea devices or dental appliances can help?
Dental appliances can help position 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:
- Easy to care for
- Comfortable to wear
- Easy to insert and remove
- Quiet and not disruptive to any bed partners (unlike some sleep apnea machines)
- Convenient for travel
Why is it important to treat sleep apnea?
If you have sleep apnea, you won't be able 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.
By treating sleep apnea, your dentist can help you improve and protect your overall health and wellbeing.