Sleep apnea is a serious condition that can rob you of your energy and take a toll on your health. If you think you might have sleep apnea, you will need to have a professional sleep study. A sleep study utilizes technology that monitors vital signs like respiratory rates to detect episodes of apnea. Since sleep apnea occurs when a person is resting, sleep studies are necessary to confirm a diagnosis.
Once a study confirms whether you have sleep apnea, you can seek treatment. Our dentist provides oral appliance therapy as a treatment option.
Causes and Risk Factors of Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a condition where a person stops breathing for short periods during rest. This is caused by obstructions in the airway – normally when soft oral tissue collapses at the back of the mouth.
Common risk factors for developing sleep apnea include:
- Bulky throat tissue
- Excess weight
- Drinking alcohol or taking sedatives before bedtime
- Developmental abnormalities of the jaws and/or airways
Signs and Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
Episodes of apnea prevent a person from progressing through each stage of sleep. Over time, patients with untreated sleep apnea will develop sleep deprivation. Those with sleep apnea can experience classic symptoms of sleep deprivation, including fatigue and memory loss.
Some other typical signs of sleep apnea are:
- Headaches – especially in the morning
- Symptoms of dry mouth
- Changes in mood, including depressed thoughts and anxiety
- Increased irritability
How Oral Appliance Therapy Can Help
Oral appliance therapy is a comfortable alternative to CPAP and surgery. This treatment option involves wearing a custom-made oral appliance that is similar to a retainer. An oral appliance is designed to widen the airway by positioning the lower jaw forward. Oral appliance therapy will not disturb sleepers or their bed partners so that they can enjoy quality rest.
In addition to causing sleep deprivation, untreated sleep apnea can increase your risk for chronic conditions like cardiovascular disease. Treating sleep apnea can improve your quality of life and help protect your health.
If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, call our practice to reserve a treatment consultation.