Yeah, your partner has complained about your constant snoring throughout the night before, but does that really mean you have a serious sleep disorder? Or were you just exhausted? One of the main symptoms of sleep apnea is chronic snoring, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have the disorder. Diagnosing patients with sleep apnea in Los Gatos can be challenging since patients are always sleeping while it’s taking pace. Sometimes, because patients don’t have another partner to rely on as a second pair of eyes, doctors can misdiagnose and put that patient at risk for serious health problems. Los Gatos Dental Group not only can help you with your diagnosis but also provide an easy fix!
Understanding Sleep Apnea
There are three main forms of sleep apnea: obstructive, central, and complex. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common form. While you are sleeping, you experience pauses in your breathing or very shallow breaths while you sleep. These pauses can last from just a few seconds or continue all the way to a few minutes at a time, which is a huge danger to your general health. Irregular breathing patterns can stop and start anywhere from 20 to 30 times in just one hour. When you start breathing again, you will normally start with a loud snort or choking sound. The biggest risk factors associated with sleep apnea are breathing cessation (interruptions) and the sleep deprivation that follows each disruption. You may experience these symptoms if you’re dealing with any form of sleep apnea:
- Frequent waking throughout the night
- Loud, chronic snoring
- Difficulty focusing, especially at work or while driving
- Dry mouth or a sore throat
- Exhaustion, irritability, and/or depression
As mentioned before, sleep apnea can be really difficult to diagnose, especially if you sleep alone. One of our dentists can give you a take-home appliance that monitors your breathing patterns while you sleep. This way, both our doctors and our patients can see what is really happening while you sleep. You can take undergo your sleep study in the comfort of your own home rather than in an uncomfortable sleep lab. This makes the diagnosis much more convenient, accurate, and eliminates leaving hidden sleep apnea untreated.
Sleep deprivation takes a huge toll on the overall quality of your life. You are constantly tired and most likely cranky because your body is lacking critical rest. The toll irregular sleep takes becomes evident quickly, making the simplest tasks difficult to focus on. Your increased irritability will eventually affect your relationships with the loved ones around you. Also, there are serious health risks involved like risking your respiratory system pausing and never starting back up again.
Sleep Apnea Therapy
For the longest time sleep apnea was treated with a machine known as CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure). Patients tend to build an intolerance to this machine due to its discomfort. It’s large, bulky, and quite loud for patients trying to catch up on much-needed sleep. Thankfully, Los Gatos Dental Group has an alternative option. Our dentists can prescribe a custom-fitted oral appliance that holds the lower jaw in place to prevent irregular breathing. After wearing the appliance, many patients have reported that their snoring has stopped. Not only that, but their sleeping habits have become more consistent and they can enjoy a full night’s rest again.
If you’re unsure if you have sleep apnea and need help with a diagnosis, contact our office! Our sleep apnea dentists are here to help you get the rest that you need and deserve every night.