You’ve always snored – even as a child, your parents would joke about your sleeping habit. Now that you’re an adult though, your snoring isn’t getting any better. In fact, your wife recently mentioned that, on top of snoring, she noticed times when you completely stop breathing during the night. Could you have sleep apnea in Los Gatos? And, if you do, what are your treatment options? Find out all about this common sleep disorder, as well as how the Los Gatos Dental Group can save your sleep and your health.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is the second most common sleep disorder behind insomnia. Most patients deal with obstructive sleep apnea – in this condition, the airway becomes blocked while you sleep. As you sleep, your tongue and jaw become relaxed and slide back against your throat, preventing you from breathing properly.
Since your brain is smart enough to know that you aren’t getting enough oxygen, it will wake you up, but only enough to make sure you start breathing again – not enough to make you realize you’re awake. These “micro-arousals” can happen hundreds of times a night, leaving you exhausted in the morning, but with no recollection of why you’re so tired.
What Are The Symptoms Of Sleep Apnea?
There are many symptoms of sleep apnea – some that are so common that lots of people overlook them. Review this list and quiz yourself to see if you may be suffering from this sleep disorder.
- Daytime sleepiness and fatigue
- Dry mouth or sore throat when waking up
- Morning headaches
- Waking up gasping for breath or with the feeling of choking
- Sweating while sleeping
- Waking up to urinate
- Morning asthma symptoms or attacks during the night
- Trouble concentrating, forgetfulness, irritability, depression
- Sexual dysfunction
- Periods of not breathing during sleep (often noticed by a partner)
- Snoring – although, you can still have sleep apnea if you don’t snore
What Can I Do If I Think I Might Have Sleep Apnea?
If you exhibit the symptoms or think you might be at risk for sleep apnea, do not take this condition lightly. Untreated sleep apnea can shorten your life overall, and wreak havoc on your cardiovascular system – stroke, heart attack, and sudden death are all related to this condition.
See your dentist or doctor as soon as possible – they will order a sleep study and, once you’re diagnosed, treatment can begin.
What Are The Dental Treatment Options For Sleep Apnea?
Most patients with sleep apnea are prescribed a CPAP machine – this expensive piece of equipment uses tubing to blow air into your windpipe while you sleep to ensure you keep breathing. Since many patients can’t tolerate a CPAP machine, they often go without the treatment they need and put their lives at risk.
Luckily, we can help – the team at Los Gatos Dental Group can create a custom oral appliance for you that is similar in appearance to a nightguard. This device will gently shift your tongue and lower jaw out of the way to keep your airway open when you sleep. This dental treatment option is less expensive, much more comfortable, and extremely effective – oral appliances work for about 80% of patients.
Now that you know what sleep apnea is, what symptoms to look for, and that there are convenient dental treatment options, schedule your appointment today to take back your sleep and your health.