Are you wondering if you, your spouse, or your child may have sleep apnea? Sleep apnea is one of the most commonly diagnosed sleep disorders. It affects an estimated 22 million Americans. The good news is that it is treatable, in more ways than one.
What are the warning signs of sleep apnea? Find out what to look for and how to treat sleep apnea.
Signs and Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
If you notice one or any combination of these signs or symptoms, you or a loved one may be suffering from sleep apnea.
- – Snoring. The most common warning sign of sleep apnea is snoring. Snoring happens when the muscles in the back of the mouth and throat, including your tongue, relax and block your airway as you sleep. When you breathe, the air is met with resistance and makes the snoring sound as it goes in. It can happen whether you breathe through your nose or your mouth, though it is less common when you breathe through your nose.
- – Teeth Grinding. A lot of people grind their teeth in their sleep, which is another warning sign that sleep apnea may be occurring. Studies are inconclusive as to the nature of the relationship between teeth grinding and sleep apnea, but they so often occur together that it cannot be ignored.
- – Breathing Pauses. Sleep apnea can cause someone to actually stop breathing for short periods of time while sleeping. The airway can become completely blocked, so much so that the person’s breathing pauses for seconds at a time. This causes the brain to wake up enough to realize that breathing has stopped. The person will often snort or resume snoring and sometimes change position to go back to sleep.
- – Exhaustion or Daytime Sleepiness. If you feel tired during the day or find yourself falling asleep at your desk, you are probably not getting quality sleep at night. Many people with sleep apnea don’t realize that they are waking up slightly throughout the night because they don’t remember it. But snoring and pauses in breathing prevent your body from achieving a deeper sleep cycle that is required for restful, quality sleep.
What to Do if You Believe You or a Loved One Has Sleep Apnea
If you or someone in your family has the warning signs of sleep apnea, there are a few options for sleep apnea treatment.
- – See Your Doctor. If you talk to your doctor about your symptoms, they may refer you to a sleep specialist for diagnosis and treatment.
- – See a Sleep Specialist. If you are referred to a sleep specialist, they may recommend a sleep study. A sleep study may require you to spend the night at a facility where you will be monitored while you sleep. A sleep study may also be administered at home through a device that records information while you sleep. If the results of the sleep study suggest that you are experiencing sleep apnea, a CPAP machine will most likely be recommended. A CPAP includes a mask you wear over your mouth and nose that is attached to a machine that helps you breathe.
- – See Your Dentist. If you talk to your dentist about your sleep apnea symptoms, they may recommend a mouth guard. A sleep apnea mouth guard does double duty, protecting your teeth from the effects of grinding while positioning your tongue and mouth tissues to keep your airway open.
Which Option is Best?
Many patients prefer the sleep apnea mouth guard to the bulky, noisy CPAP machine. The mouth guard is smaller and also prevents damage to your teeth from grinding. 91% of patients have reported improvement in their quality of sleep while using a SomnoDent® sleep apnea mouth guard. However, if your sleep apnea symptoms do not improve with the device, refer back to your doctor or sleep specialist.
Get Better Sleep with Help From Savannah Dental Solutions
If you or a loved one snores at night, grinds their teeth, or seems unusually tired throughout the day, they may be suffering from sleep apnea. Savannah Dental Solutions recommends a SomnoDent® mouth guard to relieve the symptoms and promote better sleep. In many cases it is approved by insurance.
Call (912) 354-1366 today or contact us to schedule a consultation. We look forward to helping you improve your quality of sleep.
Sleep apnea is one of the most commonly diagnosed sleep disorders, affecting an average of 20 million Americans. The actual number is probably even higher, as many cases of sleep apnea go undiagnosed. People who suffer from this disorder experience poor quality sleep, which can negatively affect overall health. Sleep apnea can lead to cardiovascular disease, poor cognitive function, and other health issues.
What causes sleep apnea? And what exactly is it? Learn the answers to these questions and more.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea occurs when a person stops breathing while sleeping. It can happen for a few seconds at a time, or sometimes longer periods of time. The lack of oxygen eventually wakes the person enough that they start breathing again. Often the person goes right back to sleep without realizing what has happened. Other times it can be difficult to fall back asleep afterwards. These periods where breathing stops can happen anywhere from 5 to 30 times in an hour.
Causes of Sleep Apnea
So, what causes sleep apnea to occur? There are two different causes, which define the two main types of sleep apnea.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea. This occurs when the muscles in the throat relax and block the airway. The uvula (the flap of tissue that closes your nasal passages when you swallow), the walls of the throat, and the tonsils all collapse when they are not being supported by the throat muscles. The airway narrows or becomes blocked completely, causing snoring, snorting, and lapses in the regular breathing pattern. When your brain realizes that you can’t breathe, you naturally wake up enough to change positions and start breathing again. This pattern can repeat itself all night, preventing you from ever reaching a deep, restful sleep cycle.
Central Sleep Apnea. This type is much less common, but it still occurs. In some cases, the brain itself fails to send the message to the muscles that are responsible for your breathing. When this happens, you stop breathing for a period of time and may wake up gasping for air. It can be difficult to fall back asleep afterwards, resulting in a lack of sleep or poor quality sleep.
Some people have a combination of these two types of sleep apnea, which is even less common.
Risk Factors for Sleep Apnea
There are a handful of factors that increase your chances of developing sleep apnea, such as:
- – Being Overweight. If you’re overweight, there can be fat deposits around your neck and upper airway that may cause obstructive sleep apnea.
- – Smoking. Inflammation of the airways and excess fluid can result from smoking, which can cause sleep apnea.
- – Drinking Alcohol. Alcohol can cause the throat muscles to relax, which increases the chances of sleep apnea. This is why some people snore when they drink.
- – Medical Conditions. High blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, polycystic ovary syndrome, hormonal disorders, asthma, allergies, and other respiratory conditions can all increase your chances of developing sleep apnea.
- – Body Structure. Sometimes the natural structure and size of your body can increase your chances of having sleep apnea. If you have a naturally narrow airway, a thick neck, or blocked nasal passages, it can cause you to have trouble breathing while sleeping.
- – Age. The older you are, the greater your chances of developing sleep apnea.
- – Heredity. If your parents and grandparents suffer from sleep apnea, the chances are higher that you will too.
- – Gender. Sleep apnea is more common in men than in women, although it can occur in either gender.
Treatment for Sleep Apnea
There are few different remedies for sleep apnea. Of course, the best option is to treat the problem at the source, such as losing weight or quitting smoking. However, if those options don’t work or if you need immediate treatment, there are other options.
- – CPAP. CPAP stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. A CPAP machine comprises a mask you wear over your mouth and nose that will deliver consistent air pressure to keep your airway open. Some find that wearing a mask to sleep is cumbersome and uncomfortable, but you will most likely get used to it over time. The benefits of CPAP use are definitely worth it.
- – Oral Appliances. Sometimes all that is required to stop sleep apnea is to wear an oral appliance, such as a snoring mouth guard. This type of appliance is worn in the mouth to reposition the jaw and tongue to keep the airway open while you sleep. Some people find it more comfortable and easier to use than a CPAP machine.
- – Oxygen. For those who suffer from central sleep apnea, meaning the cause of the breathing issues is in the brain and not the airway, supplemental oxygen can help. Wearing an oxygen mask or a nasal cannula at night can deliver extra oxygen to lessen the effects of lapses in breathing.
Looking for Sleep Apnea Relief? Savannah Dental Solutions Can Help
Now that you know what causes sleep apnea, you can look into options for treatment. If you suffer from poor quality sleep because of sleep apnea, start with a snoring mouth guard. With sleep apnea treatment, a mouthpiece is a much simpler option than a CPAP machine. Your sleep apnea may be able to be cured more easily and affordably through an oral appliance custom made by the experts at Savannah Dental Solutions.
Call (912) 354-1366 or contact us today to schedule a consultation. We look forward to helping you get better quality sleep for better quality of life.
The Link Between Sleep Apnea and Snoring
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a common condition that affects millions of people in the United States. Those who suffer from OSA periodically stop breathing for short periods of time while they are sleeping. Sleep apnea can be harmful to your general health and overall quality of life, as it is linked to many health problems including hypertension, diabetes, and in severe cases, sudden death. Possible side effects of OSA include, but are not limited to, excessive sleepiness during the day, grinding teeth during sleep, and even an elevated risk of workplace injuries.
Snoring is a Key Symptom
Snoring may be caused by many things, including allergies, alcohol consumption, or blocked sinuses. However, there is also a strong link between sleep apnea and snoring. Those who snore are more likely to have sleep apnea, while those with sleep apnea are more likely to snore. Therefore, if you snore, it is important to let your dentist know.
How Do I Know if I Have OSA?
Obstructive sleep apnea can only be diagnosed through a professional sleep study in which you are closely monitored throughout the night. In the past, the only option was to spend the night at a sleep clinic. Today, though, the technology exists allowing some patients to complete a sleep test in the comfort of their own home using a portable monitor. Ask your dentist if a home sleep test is an option for you.
How Is Sleep Apnea Treated?
OSA is a long-term condition that many sufferers aren’t even aware that they have. Although there is no cure, a few solutions have been found to provide relief. The most common is known as a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine. This machine attaches to your nose and mouth while you sleep to keep your airway open. While effective, it is also bulky, noisy and expensive.
Many doctors and dentists are now turning to a smaller, simpler, highly effective solution. The sleep apnea mouth guard, also known as the “snoring mouthpiece,” is smaller than the palm of your hand, and can be worn comfortably and quietly. Similar to a sports mouth guard, the sleep apnea mouth guard is designed to pull the jaw forward to prevent overnight airway collapse, thus allowing you to breathe regularly. It greatly reduces your snoring so that you and your loved ones may finally get the quiet, deep slumber that your body has been craving.
Ready to Get Started?
If you are looking to get a good night’s sleep, contact Savannah Dental Solutions today at (912) 354-1366. Our friendly, knowledgeable staff will guide you through the process from diagnosis to fitting to regular care and maintenance.
18 to 30 million adults in America suffer from Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). Some are familiar with that name. Others relate to the symptom—loud snoring! This chronic condition can be detrimental to the health and quality of life for the one snoring and the one trying to sleep beside them.
Many treatments involve a bulky and cumbersome CPAP machine. This device is not only inconvenient at home, but incredibly troublesome for travel. Many users report the need check an extra suitcase for air travel.
A new product called, SomnoDent has been developed. It’s often referred to as a sleep apnea mouth guard or snoring mouthpiece.
Do you have sleep apnea?
Throat muscles and the tongue relaxes during sleep. Your airway can become obstructed and prevent normal breathing. Here are some signs you could be suffering from sleep apnea:
• Snore at night
• Very tired during the day
• Noticeable pauses in nighttime breathing
• Teeth grinding at night
If you are already using a CPAP, you already know how bulky and inconvenient this device can be. The snoring mouthpiece is custom fitted and will fit in the palm of your hand. A big advantage to the sleep apnea mouth guard is that it makes no noise!
We’d be happy to schedule an appointment to help you identify the source of your snoring or talk with you more about an alternative to the CPAP machine.
Always Tired? Sleep Loss Can Kill You
Sufficient and restful sleep is very important for overall good health. Restorative sleep lets your entire body decompress and unwind from all the stresses you have burdened your system with throughout the day. Sleep should be revitalizing to your brain and body, allowing it to regain enough energy for another full day of activity. In contrast, lack of sound sleep can place excessive stress on the heart muscle and contribute to cardiovascular disease or hypertension. These serious conditions have been connected to lack of sufficient or restful sleep.
Snoring Is More Than an Annoyance
Snoring is often a symptom of a more serious health concern, known as sleep apnea. This condition prevents the sufficient flow of oxygen into the lungs throughout the night. It is caused by an obstruction in the air passage. When left untreated, the result can be serious health concerns for the heart and brain and even lead to premature death. With all the additional stress being placed on the body, the resulting increase in stress hormones can also lead to depression.
We have a solution to keep the airway open during sleep. It is an oral appliance that eliminates snoring and, more importantly, maintains continual and even breathing patterns throughout the night to provide a restful sleep.
Our Alternative to CPAP
The usual solution for sleep apnea is the use of the CPAP device during sleep. It is a machine that provides a continuous flow of air into the nose or mouth through a mask that is worn over this area of the face. Many people find wearing a bulky mask uncomfortable and an unsatisfactory solution to the problem, so they discontinue wearing the mask.
If you feel frustrated that the CPAP is not a solution to your problem, let us show you an alternative that is easier and more comfortable to use. Our doctors will custom fit you with the SomnoDent™, an acrylic oral appliance that will realign your jaw and tongue to keep your airway open and allow the air to flow into your lungs during sleep. It is similar to a mouthguard, as it fits over both the upper and lower teeth. It can be removed and easily cleaned and takes up little space in your suitcase when traveling. The appliance is very successful in relieving snoring and providing restful sleep.
Savannah Dental Solutions
Drs. Chad and Alexandra Schnabel
9A Medical Arts Center
Savannah, GA 31405
Phone: (912) 354-1366