Do you snore, or do you often have a headache and sore throat in the mornings? If so, you may have a sleep disorder. Snoring is often related to sleep disorders, like sleep apnea, which can impact a patient’s short and long-term systemic health if left untreated.
According to the Sleep Foundation, sleep apnea is one of the most common sleep disorders and affects people of all ages, though it is more common in men. Because of sleep apnea’s potential health impact, it’s important that people know what it is, its symptoms, and possible treatments.
Dr. Saba Heday specializes in sleep dentistry and can help alleviate your sleep apnea symptoms so you can feel refreshed, energized, and rested. Dynamite Smiles Dentistry uses oral appliance therapy, and we will do everything we can to help you get the restful sleep you need!
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a serious health condition that occurs when a person momentarily stops breathing during sleep. According to Cleveland Clinic, people with untreated sleep apnea stop breathing several times, sometimes hundreds of times during the night.
When you fall asleep, your throat’s soft tissues can relax to the point that they obstruct the airway. They can also vibrate, which makes you snore. Snoring and gasping for air while sleeping can lead to a sore throat, morning migraines, and many other issues.
Temporary lapses in breathing cause lower-quality sleep, and it can affect the body’s oxygen supply. According to the Sleep Foundation, untreated sleep apnea can increase the risk of health problems, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart attack, heart disease, and stroke.
Sleep Apnea Symptoms
Common symptoms of sleep apnea include:
- Gasping and choking during sleep
- Daytime drowsiness
- Sore throat
- Chronic or loud snoring
- Frequent need to urinate throughout the night (nocturia)
- Waking up several times throughout the night
To determine the severity of your sleep apnea condition, you will need a sleep study performed by a sleep specialist. Based on the sleep study results provided by a sleep specialist and a sleep apnea screening at Dynamite Smiles Dentistry, Dr. Heday will prescribe a treatment that works for you and your needs.
Common Causes of Sleep Apnea
There are three different types of sleep apnea: obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), central sleep apnea, and complex sleep apnea syndrome. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common type, and multiple factors can increase a person’s risk of experiencing OSA. Typically, OSA is characterized by blockages in the upper airway or difficulties keeping the airway open during sleep.
For example, the size and positioning of a person’s neck, jaw, tonsils, tongue, and other oral tissues near the back of the throat can block the airflow and diminish a person's oxygen level.
Other risk factors include:
- Weight gain
- Deviated septum
- Use of sedatives, like alcohol and certain medications
- Cigarette smoking
- Nasal congestion
There can be many reasons someone may have sleep apnea, but the only way to know for certain is to see a sleep specialist.
How We Help Treat Sleep Apnea
Oral Examination and Sleep Apnea Screening
A dentist is the only healthcare provider who routinely examines and studies the mouth. Each time Dr. Heday sees you for an appointment, she makes sure everything in your mouth is working exactly as it should be. That’s why she always performs comprehensive examinations, including oral cancer, sleep apnea, and TMJ screenings.
If a patient shows any indication of having sleep apnea, Dr. Heday refers them to a sleep specialist for a medical diagnosis. Once the patient receives a diagnosis from the sleep specialist, Dr. Heday can provide treatment for sleep apnea at our dental office in Scottsdale, AZ.
Oral Appliance Therapy
Dynamite Smiles Dentistry offers non-surgical treatments for sleep apnea, such as oral appliance therapy. We offer several customized oral appliances, such as mouthguards, nightguards, splints, mandibular advancement devices, and other dental devices.
Oral appliance therapy helps reposition the jaws and creates a more open oral cavity, which allows a steady flow of oxygen into the airway without blockages from oral tissues. Because the oral appliances are customized to fit your unique bite, they are flexible and comfortable to wear during sleep.
Are You Ready for a Full Night’s Sleep?
Getting enough sleep is essential for our bodies to function properly. Without proper sleep, we can experience consequences that can harm our health and quality of life. Sleep apnea is prevalent, and it’s also treatable, especially with a skilled and compassionate dentist like Dr. Heday by your side.
Please contact our dental office today if you suspect you have sleep apnea, have breathing problems, or struggle with chronic snoring. We can fit you with a custom oral appliance for sleep apnea and help you get better sleep!