Have others complained that you snore extremely loud? Do you often feel exhausted in the mornings or have trouble sleeping? You may be one of the 18 million Americans who suffer from sleep apnea. If you suffer from sleep apnea, the soft tissues in your throat collapse, cutting off your airway. Eventually, your brain signals your body to wake up and breathe again. This can happen hundreds of times throughout the night, reducing your quality of sleep and causing other serious health concerns. A custom-made oral appliance is often the first line of treatment for patients suffering from sleep apnea. At Value Dental Centers Tempe in Tempe, AZ, we may also recommend a custom oral appliance for patients who prefer to avoid CPAP therapy and/or surgery.
How Can I Find Out if I Have Sleep Apnea?
For most patients, sleep apnea is accompanied by extremely loud snoring and frequent pauses in breathing. You may be able to ask your partner, a roommate, or family member about your sleep habits to give you an idea if you have sleep apnea. Though the only way to truly diagnose sleep apnea is through a professional sleep study, a dentist can often confirm suspicions of sleep apnea by measuring the length of your uvula and soft palate. You may notice other symptoms of you suffer from sleep apnea, including:
- Disruptive or interrupted sleep
- Difficulty falling asleep or insomnia
- Changes in your mood such as irritability or depression
- Severe fatigue or exhaustion
- Trouble focusing at work or school
- Trouble remembering information
Certain factors put you at a greater risk for developing sleep apnea, such as your age, gender, weight, allergies, and lifestyle. In general males over the age of 40 are more likely to develop sleep apnea. Additionally, it is usually more common in patients who are overweight or obese. Patients with severe nasal allergies or those who smoke are also at a greater risk of developing the condition.
How Does an Oral Appliance Work?
If it is determined that you suffer from sleep apnea, your dentist will recommend a custom-fitted oral appliance. This customizable treatment option will fit comfortably over your lower teeth. It is adjustable to push your lower jaw forward just slightly. By repositioning your jaw, your tissues cannot collapse and your airway will remain open. This will eliminate snoring and regulate your breathing throughout the night.
Because a number of other factors can cause sleep apnea, your dentist may also make some other recommendations to help reduce your risk of sleep apnea and snoring. He or she may recommend a weight loss or smoking cessation program. These lifestyle changes can dramatically reduce your risk of sleep apnea and improve both your oral and overall health.
What are the Benefits of Sleep Apnea and Snoring Cessation?
When left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to the development of a wide range of other serious health conditions, including heart disease, hypertension, stroke, diabetes, insomnia, and depression. In severe cases, sleep apnea can be fatal. The use of an oral appliance can significantly reduce your risk of these serious conditions and can improve your mental health as well. With a custom-fitted oral appliance, you will likely find that you can sleep through the night and wake feeling rested and energized.
Schedule Your Consultation Today
If you think you may suffer from sleep apnea, contact Value Dental Centers Tempe today to schedule a consultation.