Managing Sleep Apnea With Dentistry
The purpose of a good night’s sleep is to get some rest, so that your body is refreshed and restored while your mind is enlivened. Unfortunately, 18 Million Americans do not have this luxury because they suffer with sleep apnea. The more serious condition, known as Obstructive Sleep Apnea, can be a life-threatening condition. It is characterized by episodes of breathing stoppage that can last up to 10 seconds or more, while you are sleeping.
The Mechanism Of Sleep Apnea
In order to treat sleep apnea, one has to understand the mechanism of it, or how it works. OSA, or Obstructive Sleep Apnea, is actually a breathing disorder. It occurs when you, or a family member, suffer from a complete or partial blockage of the airway during sleep. As your lower jaw moves slightly backwards during sleep, the softer mouth and throat tissues block your airflow, and this cause you to snore. Although you may unconsciously try to keep breathing; little if any air is moving in and out of your airway.
During sleep apnea episodes, your lower jaw moves backwards as you sleep. When you stop breathing, the episode can last up to 10 seconds or longer. This results in a dangerous decrease in oxygenation of the blood, and diminished sleep quality. Sadly, sleep apnea is prevalent, especially for those 40+ years of age. Even sadder is the fact that 80 to 90 percent of all OSA cases go undiagnosed.
Still, Hoping For A Good Night’s Sleep?
Snoring can be extremely bothersome for you and your sleep partner. In most cases, OSA and chronic snoring is caused by an improper alignment of your lower and upper jaw. Consider the following:
- Do you know or have you ever wondered how many times your sleep has been interrupted because you are unable to breathe?
- Does your partner complain about not getting a good night’s sleep because of how badly you snore?
- Does your snoring frequently wake you up?
- Have you ever woken up because you were gasping for breath or choking?
If you answered “YES” to any of these or a combination of them, you may not realize that the sleep apnea team at Sherman Oaks Dentistry can help you. Despite how snoring is extremely bothersome, OSA is a far more serious problem.
Symptoms Of Sleep Apnea
While snoring is sleep apnea’s most common symptom, it doesn’t mean that you have the breathing disorder simply because you snore during sleep. However, it may indicate the presence of the disorder when it is followed by choking, gasping for air, or pauses in your breathing.
Sherman Oaks Dentistry lists the following symptoms of sleep apnea:
- Choking or gasping for air
- Daytime fatigue or sleepiness
- Decreased libido (sexual desire)
- Difficulties with concentration
- Frequent or loud snoring
- Irritability and mood swings
- Loss of memory
- Morning headaches
- Not feeling refreshed after sleeping
- Silent pauses in your breathing
- Waking up during the night and going to the bathroom (Nocturia)
There are certain risk factors that must be taken into consideration if you are suffering with OSA. Oftentimes, sleep apnea is not isolated, and is usually associated with a host of other issues that trigger this sleep disorder. The more common factors include:
- Being a male (twice as common in men as it is in women)
- Excess weight
- Family history (sleep apnea is hereditary)
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Larger neck size (men 17”+ / women 16”+)
- Middle age
We are ready to answer your questions!
Though there are other sleep related disorders that might have led to sudden triggering of sleep apnea, it is best to get a complete check done to rule out other issues. Treatment is a possibility and that is why it is important to consult us as quickly as possible.
If you have noticed that you or a loved one is exhibiting any of the symptoms above, we encourage you to call Sherman Oaks Dentistry today. A sleep apnea specialist, in Sherman Oaks, will be glad to discuss your condition. Isn’t it time to get a good night’s sleep?
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