Sleep Apnea is a type of sleep disorder. When someone has sleep apnea, it means they stop breathing for short periods of time while they are sleeping. It is most often characterized by snoring, the sound that occurs when the soft tissues of the mouth and throat vibrate as you breathe. If you have been told that you snore when you sleep, there is a possibility that you have sleep apnea.
Signs and Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
If you have symptoms you may notice any one or a combination of the following:
- Snoring. The most common indication is snoring, which is the audible sound made by vibrations of the tissues of your mouth and throat as your breath moves over them, indicating that your airway is partially blocked.
- Pauses in breathing. At times your airway will become completely blocked so that you stop breathing for seconds at a time.
- Waking up out of breath. If you wake up gasping for air or feeling out of breath, it indicates that your breathing was obstructed while you were sleeping.
- Feeling tired throughout the day. You may feel constantly tired no matter how much sleep you are getting. Sleep apnea prevents you from getting quality sleep.
- Lacking energy. Another indication of poor quality sleep due to sleep apnea is that you lack energy throughout the day. When sleep is not restful you may feel like you’re running on a low battery.
- Frequent waking at night. If you wake up multiple times throughout the night for no apparent reason, it may be due to sleep apnea. When you stop breathing for long enough for your brain to register the lack of oxygen, you will rouse from sleep enough to change positions so you can breathe again. Sometimes you may be aware of it and sometimes you may not.
- Dry mouth. Sleep apnea and snoring are characterized by mouth breathing, which can cause you to wake up with a dry mouth.
- Morning headaches. The lack of oxygen and quality sleep during the night can lead to a headache in the morning.
- Difficulty focusing. You may find that you have trouble focusing at school or work due to sleep apnea.
- Teeth grinding. In some cases teeth grinding and sleep apnea are related.
Types of Sleep Apnea
There are 3 main types of sleep apnea:
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea: your breathing is obstructed by the soft tissues of your mouth and throat.
- Central Sleep Apnea: your brain fails to send the message to your diaphragm to draw air into your lungs.
- Complex Sleep Apnea Syndrome: your sleep apnea is caused by both conditions.
Health Risks Associated With Sleep Apnea
Why is it important to treat sleep apnea? Because better quality sleep, in addition to making you feel better, is crucial to your overall health and wellness. Untreated sleep apnea can lead to a variety of health conditions, such as:
- High blood pressure and heart problems
- Type 2 diabetes
- Metabolic syndrome
- Problems with anesthesia and medications
- Liver conditions (such as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease)
How Your Dentist Can Help
When it comes to sleep disorders your first instinct may be to go to your primary care physician. However, your dentist can also diagnose and treat sleep apnea, but with a slightly different method. A sleep apnea mouthguard can be worn at night to reposition the jaw and tongue in order to prevent your airway from becoming blocked. It can keep you from snoring and ensure that you are breathing properly throughout the night.
In many cases patients with obstructive sleep apnea can avoid the need for a CPAP machine by wearing a sleep apnea mouthguard. However, patients with central sleep apnea may still require a CPAP or other treatment.
Savannah Dental Solutions Provides Sleep Apnea Treatment
If you snore or have other symptoms of sleep apnea, Savannah Dental Solutions may be able to help. After a sleep apnea diagnosis we can create a custom sleep apnea mouthguard to reposition your jaw, tongue, and the other soft tissues of your mouth to prevent them from shifting back into your throat when you lay down to sleep. You’ll get better quality sleep and so will your partner, roommate, or anyone else who is affected by your sleep apnea.
To learn more about sleep apnea solutions, call (912) 354-1366 or contact us today to schedule a consultation.
A good night’s sleep is important for both your mental and physical health, but what do you do if your sleep apnea is keeping you awake? In the past, large and uncomfortable masks and machines were the main solution for those suffering from sleep apnea. Thanks to modern day technology and advancements in the healthcare industry, however, there are much more convenient options available to help treat your sleep apnea.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when your airway is blocked during sleep, causing abnormal breathing patterns or keeping you from breathing at all. This can be caused by a number of different factors, such as:
- Size and position of your tongue, jaw, tonsils, or neck
- Obesity, which shrinks your airway
- Sleeping on your back
- Drug or alcohol use
- Nasal congestion that inhibits your breathing
Although men are more likely to suffer from sleep apnea than women, it can affect anyone regardless of age or sex. Sleep apnea affects the quality of your sleep as well as your body’s ability to take in oxygen, which could result in serious health problems if left untreated.
Treatment Options For Sleep Apnea
If you suffer from sleep apnea, your medical professional might recommend a sleep study to analyze your breathing patterns. Methods of treating sleep apnea depend on the root cause and severity of the condition, and can include:
- Lifestyle Changes. In some cases, sleep apnea stems from lifestyle choices that can be changed by the patient. Losing weight or quitting smoking may reduce strain on your airway, alleviating your sleep apnea symptoms. Changing your sleeping position to lie on your side or stomach might also open your airway to help regulate your breathing as well.
- Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) Devices. These machines pump pressurized air into your airway at a consistent pressure. This constant airflow promotes steady breathing and keeps your airway from collapsing as you sleep. Although it is an effective sleep apnea treatment, and one of the first most doctors prescribe to patients, it may not be for everyone. Some machines are quite bulky, and wearing the mask may cause discomfort.
- Mouthguards / Oral Appliances. An alternative to CPAP machines, these mouthguards are custom made to fit your teeth. The device works by repositioning your lower jaw while you sleep, allowing additional space in your airway to aid in breathing. A mouthguard can also protect against teeth grinding while you sleep, as well as aid in reducing snoring.
- Surgery. For severe sleep apnea cases, or ones where other forms of treatment prove ineffective, surgery may be a last resort. One of the most common forms of surgery to help relieve sleep apnea is tonsil removal, though other anomalies in your anatomy may also be altered or removed if a doctor determines they are the root problem of your sleep apnea.
Ready to Treat Your Sleep Apnea?
If you are suffering from sleep apnea and looking for a solution, Savannah Dental Solutions can help. Our dedicated team is committed to your health and wellness, and is ready to help you control your sleep apnea! Call us at (912) 354-1366 to schedule a sleep apnea consultation, or contact us online.
Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that affects up to a billion people worldwide. Although it is more common in men or the elderly, its causes are varied and anyone can be diagnosed with the condition. If your nights are accompanied by complaints of loud snoring and mornings with a lack of energy or irritability, you may have sleep apnea.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a disorder in which breathing is stopped while asleep. These interruptions can occur suddenly throughout the night. There are three main types of sleep apnea:
- Obstructive sleep apnea, (OSA) the most common form of apnea. It is caused by soft tissue restricting airflow in the throat while the body relaxes during sleep.
- Central sleep apnea, (CSA) in which respiration becomes erratic by imbalances in the brain’s respiratory control system.
- Mixed sleep apnea, (MSA) a combination of OSA and CSA. Also known as Complex Sleep Apnea, it is a fairly rare condition usually detected by initial treatment of OSA.
Am I At Risk of Getting Sleep Apnea?
There are a large variety of factors that can cause sleep apnea to occur. People are more likely to have sleep apnea if they have:
- A family history of sleep apnea
- Constricted facial features like a narrow jaw, chin, or enlarged tongue
- Seasonal or chronic allergies
- Upset stomach, indigestion issues or acid reflux
- Diabetes or a family history of the condition
- Habits like smoking or vaping
- Lung diseases like bronchitis or asthma
- A history of alcohol consumption on a regular basis
- Neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s
- Consistent use of muscle relaxants or sedatives
How Can I Tell If I Have Sleep Apnea?
Regardless of which type of sleep apnea you may have, all have some noticeable and clear warning signs you can recognize:
- Loud snoring, snorting, or choking during sleep. This is the most common symptom of sleep apnea.
- Pains and headaches
- Dry mouth and irritated lips
- Insomnia, or difficulty staying asleep
- Excessive daytime sleepiness, (EDS) also known as hypersomnia
- Changes in mood or irritability during the day
- Shifts in alertness and focus
What Are the Long Term Effects of Sleep Apnea?
If left untreated, sleep apnea can cause the following complications:
- Impairment of motor function and decision making
- Permanent changes in mood or depression
- Hypertension or high blood pressure
- Heart problems caused by high blood sugar and cholesterol levels
- Liver damage
- Higher risk of accidents while operating machinery
What Can I Do If I Think I Have Sleep Apnea?
If you believe you are suffering from sleep apnea, it may be a good idea to have a partner observe your sleeping habits and check for the most common symptoms of the condition. You can also record your sleeping habits on your own overnight. If sleep apnea is affecting your quality of life, the best course of action is to have a specialist examine the condition.
Are You Suffering From Sleep Apnea?
If you believe you may be suffering from sleep apnea, Savannah Dental Solutions can help. Our dedicated team provides a variety of services, and we strive to be the best choice for all of your dental health needs. Call us at (912) 354-1366 to schedule a sleep apnea consultation, or contact us online.
Do you or your spouse snore at night? Snoring is a very common occurrence for many people, and until recently it was considered normal. While it may be common, it is not necessarily normal. Snoring is a symptom of sleep apnea, a sleep disorder that 22 million Americans suffer from.
Sleep apnea is a disorder that is characterized by airway blockage while sleeping. When sleeping, the tongue and throat tissues relax and collapse to partially block your airway. Sleep apnea patients stop breathing for seconds at a time throughout the night, and when your brain detects the lack of oxygen, you are drawn out of your deep sleep to move or change positions so that you can breathe again. This prevents you from achieving a restful sleep at night. It can also lead to more serious conditions such as stroke and cardiovascular diseases.
Treatments for Sleep Apnea
There are two categories of sleep apnea treatment with multiple types, brands, and models within these categories:
- CPAP. A common treatment for sleep apnea is a CPAP machine. CPAP stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, because it provides the appropriate amount of air pressure in your throat to keep it from collapsing and blocking your airway while you sleep. A CPAP machine usually consists of a mask worn over the mouth and nose with a hose that is connected to the machine. If the machine senses that your breathing is abnormal, it will increase air pressure to correct it.
- Oral Appliance. Also known as a sleep apnea mouth guard or a snoring mouthpiece, an oral appliance can correct sleep apnea by providing COAT (Continuous Open Airway Therapy). The appliance fits over the teeth on the top and bottom jaw and serves to reposition the jaw so that it stays forward and prevents the tongue from sliding back and the throat from collapsing to block the airway.
Both options are effective for treating sleep apnea and helping patients stop snoring and get better quality sleep. Which option you choose depends on your personal preference.
Choosing a Treatment Option
Many patients prefer an oral appliance over a CPAP machine because the appliance is small and silent. A CPAP machine is noisy, cumbersome, and involves a bulky mask. A mouth guard is compact and easy to travel with.
What is the most effective oral appliance for sleep apnea? SomnoDent™ is one of the top brands, effectively eliminating snoring and other symptoms of sleep apnea. Patients report experiencing better sleep from the very first night wearing the appliance.
Panthera™ also provides other benefits, such as preventing bruxism (teeth grinding). Grinding your teeth at night can cause wearing down of the teeth, sensitive teeth, jaw pain, and headaches. It is also a sign of sleep apnea in addition to snoring. If you wake up with a headache or jaw pain in the morning you are probably grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw.
There are other brands and products out there that serve a similar purpose, but SomnoDent™ is comfortable, requires minimal adjustments, and is made of high quality materials that hold up over time and reduce odors.
Savannah Dental Solutions Recommends and Offers Panthera™
What is the most effective oral appliance for sleep apnea and where can you get it? Savannah Dental Solutions provides SomnoDent™ oral appliances to our patients. The mouthpiece will be custom designed to fit your mouth and correct your specific sleep apnea symptoms. You’ll get better sleep, feel more rested, and experience overall better health.
Call (912) 354-1366 or contact us today to schedule a consultation. We look forward to helping you get better rest with a sleep apnea oral appliance.
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.
Do you or a loved one suffer from sleep apnea? Sleep apnea is a disorder characterized by snoring and breathing issues at night. If you, your spouse, or your child snore at night, it is very likely that sleep apnea is at play.
Snoring may not seem like a big deal, other than causing an annoyance to your spouse or other members of your family. However, people with sleep apnea actually stop breathing for periods of time while they are asleep. When your breathing pauses long enough, your brain registers that fact and forces you to move or shift to resume breathing. This disrupts your natural sleep cycle and prevents you from getting good quality sleep. It also deprives your body of necessary oxygen for short periods of time.
What Can You Do to Relieve the Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?
Changing your sleep position can improve sleep apnea. If you snore at night, your spouse may nudge you to wake you up enough that you stop snoring. If you roll over or change position, often the snoring stops. Which bears the question: What sleep position is best for sleep apnea?
- – Sleeping on your left side. The best position for sleep apnea is the left side. Sleeping on your left side improves circulation, prevents or reduces acid reflux, and helps your body filter out toxins and waste. Acid reflux prevention is a key improvement, as it is related to snoring and sleep apnea. Sleeping on your side prevents the tongue and throat muscles from sliding back to block your airway.
- – Sleeping on your right side. The next best position for sleep apnea is your right side. It still reduces snoring and improves circulation.
- – Sleeping on your stomach. This position is good for preventing snoring and sleep apnea, but it is not necessarily ideal for other reasons. If you suffer from back or neck pain, sleeping on your stomach may exacerbate that.
The worst sleep position for sleep apnea is on your back. This position allows your tongue and throat muscles to relax and fall back to block your breathing. However, if this is how you prefer to sleep in order to be comfortable, you may need a different form of sleep apnea intervention.
What to Do If Changing Sleep Positions Doesn’t Help
Now that you know what sleep position is best for sleep apnea, what do you do if that doesn’t work? If you still snore or experience symptoms of sleep apnea despite attempts to adjust your sleeping position, you may need additional intervention. Does this mean you need to see a sleep specialist who will prescribe a loud, bulky CPAP machine? Not necessarily.
Your dentist may be able to help by offering you a sleep apnea mouth guard. A mouth guard can help to position your tongue and mouth tissues in a way that prevents snoring and airway obstruction. An added bonus is that it protects the teeth from the harmful effects of grinding, which often accompanies sleep apnea.
One such product is the SomnoDent® mouth guard. This mouthpiece is small, silent, and effective. 91% of patients reported improved sleep quality with regular use and 88% of patients reported using it regularly. SomnoDent® is covered by a 3 year warranty.
Savannah Dental Solutions Provides Sleep Apnea Relief
Are you looking for sleep apnea treatment in Savannah? If you or a loved one are experiencing the negative effects of sleep apnea, Savannah Dental Solutions can help. Through the SomnoDent® mouth guard, you can stop snoring at night and experience better quality sleep. We have fitted many satisfied patients with mouth guards that have changed their lives.
Call (912) 354-1366 or contact us to schedule a consultation. We look forward to helping you get better quality sleep and all of the health benefits that go with it.
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.
Obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA, is a chronic medical condition that affects an estimated 18 to 30 million adults in the United States. It causes sufferers to stop breathing for short periods during the night, increases the risks for many health conditions, and can even lead to sudden death.
One of the most common symptoms is snoring, yet snoring can also be caused by anything from allergies or a cold to the shape of your sinuses. How can you tell if you have sleep apnea, and what can you do about it if you do? Here is what you should know.
Signs and Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
Besides snoring, sleep apnea has many signs. Each person is different, so you might experience all, some, or none of the following symptoms:
- – Excessive daytime sleepiness
- – Noticeable pauses in breathing during sleep
- – Nighttime teeth grinding
In mild cases, these symptoms may be nearly undetectable, or easily chalked up to other things such as a poor night’s rest. In particularly bad cases, on the other hand, some people report that they wake during the night feeling unable to catch their breath, or like they are drowning. Some feel physically unable to stay awake during the day, even when they seem to have gotten plenty of sleep.
TMJ, or temporomandibular joint disease, is not always related to sleep apnea. However, if you have symptoms of TMJ, it may be worth investigating whether sleep apnea is the cause, particularly if you also have other signs of the condition. Here are some common symptoms of TMJ:
- – Teeth grinding or clenching
- – Worn or chipped teeth
- – Worn away tooth enamel
- – Increased dental sensitivity
- – Muscle tightness in the jaw, neck, and shoulders
- – Earaches
- – Headaches
- – Facial pain
The only way to know for sure if you have sleep apnea is to undergo a sleep study. Traditionally, these have been held in medical facilities known as sleep labs. You will be asked to arrive in the evening, typically between 8:00 and 9:00 p.m. You should bring your medications, comfortable sleeping attire, and your morning hygiene supplies.
After checking in and filling out forms, you will change clothes and be hooked up to a variety of wires. Electrodes are used to monitor your sleep stages throughout the night, as well as your facial and body movements. You will also wear an EKG monitor to track your heart rate and rhythm, an oxygen sensor on your finger, and a nasal monitor to track your breathing. Finally, you might have elastic bands placed around your chest and stomach to monitor breathing effort and a microphone at your throat to check for snoring.
You will sleep in a provided hospital bed until early morning, typically around 6:00 or 7:00 a.m. Then you will be awakened by a tech, who will disconnect the monitoring devices, ask you to sign a few more forms, and escort you to the lab’s facilities for showering and morning hygiene. Your results will be sent to your doctor or dentist, who will discuss them with you at a follow-up appointment.
Home Sleep Tests
Although most sleep labs go out of their way to make patients as comfortable as possible, sleep studies are not much fun. In some cases, you might be able to conduct a home sleep test instead. This allows you to conduct your nighttime monitoring in the comfort of your own home and bed.
If you qualify for a home sleep test, you will receive a small monitoring system about the size of a telephone handset. Just connect the various monitoring devices as instructed before you go to sleep, and leave them on throughout the night. Home sleep tests do not include the electrodes used in lab-based sleep studies.
You will be instructed to use the monitoring equipment for one to three nights, depending on your individual circumstances. Then you will simply return the device to the coordinating office, receive your results, and share them with your dentist for follow-up.
Sleep Apnea Treatments
Sleep apnea is traditionally treated with a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine, which keeps your airway from collapsing during the night. Although these machines typically provide excellent results, many people struggle with breathing normally while using one. Others dislike the bulky equipment and elaborate setup, which can be especially difficult for frequent travelers.
There are other variations on the CPAP, but many people prefer a sleek and simple anti-snoring mouthpiece, also known as a sleep apnea mouth guard. Instead of a bulky machine, these mouthpieces are small and easy to carry. They look something like a football player’s mouth guard, and are designed to hold the mouth and jaw in alignment to prevent nighttime collapse.
Snoring and sleep apnea are complicated disorders, and should only be diagnosed and treated by a professional. If you show any signs or symptoms, please bring your condition to the dentist’s attention right away. With proper diagnosis and treatment, there is no reason to suffer any longer.
Married dentists Chad and Alexandra Schnabel welcome you to Savannah Dental Solutions. From caring children’s dentistry to high-tech cosmetic procedures and even full-mouth reconstruction, we blend the latest technology with traditional customer-oriented values. To start your journey to better oral health, call us today at (912) 354-1366.