Every human body must clock in a certain amount of sleep each day to stay healthy. When sleep is interrupted or poor in quality, it can lead to some serious setbacks that affect more than your ability to stay awake during the day.
Sleep apnea is one of the most common reasons for poor quality sleep. This sleep disorder involves frequent pauses in breathing throughout the night when the airway becomes blocked. Unfortunately, when such bad sleep patterns go untreated, the daytime symptoms can be disruptive and serious.
What you may not know is that your dentist may be able to treat your sleep apnea? We typically consider our dentist for caring for our teeth and gums. However, sleep apnea is a condition that is directly linked to the position of your jaw during sleep. Oral appliance therapy from a trained dentist can keep the airway open and prevent sleep apnea episodes.
Understanding Sleep Apnea
To understand how a dentist can treat your sleep apnea, it is helpful to understand exactly how this sleep disorder occurs. Pauses in breathing with sleep apnea happens when the tongue slides back and blocks their airway. This causes the brain to quickly respond to the lack of oxygen by waking up the person to restore the airway. It often looks like someone being startled awake and gasping for air. However, the person usually doesn’t wake up enough to realize what is going on. These episodes can occur hundreds of times a night – which equates to a very poor quality of sleep.
Beyond the gasping for air and feeling tired after a seemingly “full night’s rest,” untreated sleep apnea is also associated with loud snoring. Over time, this sleep disorder can also impact your metabolism, mental health, cardiovascular system and other parts of your body.
Treating Sleep Apnea
There are several treatments for sleep apnea, but it is commonly treated using a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machine, or CPAP. The CPAP machine pushes air past your tongue & into your airway, creating pressure that prevents the airway from collapsing or being blocked while you’re sleeping. Unfortunately, not everyone can tolerate a bulky CPAP machine to sleep, and not everyone needs one to find relief from their sleep apnea.
Because sleep apnea is directly related to the positioning of your tongue and jaw, our dentist at Crabapple Dental can help. Call today to learn more about oral appliance therapy for sleep apnea.