Twin City Dental Group
General and Cosmetic Dentistry located in Uhrichsville, OH
A good night’s sleep is a vital part of a healthy lifestyle, but it’s hard to get restful sleep if you can’t breathe. Sleep apnea causes your breathing to stop and start while you sleep and can lead to serious complications. Luckily, there are options to relieve symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea, starting with the use of an oral appliance or mouthpiece, while you sleep. If you show signs of sleep apnea, talk to Randal Garvey, DDS, FAGD, about whether an oral appliance might be right for you. As a member of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine, Dr. Garvey is kept up-to-date on the latest information in the most effective oral appliances. For more information, call Twin City Dental Group of Uhrichsville, Ohio, today or make an appointment online.
Sleep Apnea Q & A
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which your breathing stops and starts. While it may not always have severe symptoms, sleep apnea is a serious, but treatable, medical condition.
There are three main types of sleep apnea:
Obstructive sleep apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common type and occurs when your throat muscles relax to obstruct your airway.
Central sleep apnea
Central sleep apnea is when your brain isn’t sending the correct signals to your muscles that control breathing.
Complex sleep apnea syndrome
If you have both obstructive and central sleep apnea, this is called complex sleep apnea syndrome.
How do I know if I have sleep apnea?
It can be easy to have sleep apnea without even knowing it, for the obvious reason that the symptoms typically occur while you’re unconscious. It can also be difficult to discern which type of sleep apnea you have based on your symptoms because they can often overlap. Some of the most common signs shared by all three types of sleep apnea include:
- Loud snoring
- Episodes during sleep where you stop breathing
- Gasping for air while asleep, or waking up gasping for air
- Waking up in the morning with a dry mouth or a headache
- Insomnia, or difficulty staying asleep
- Excessive fatigue during the day
- Difficulty focusing or irritability
If you think you may have sleep apnea, or if someone has told you that you show any of these symptoms in your sleep, see a doctor for a diagnosis. It’s also important to note that while snoring is the most common and popularly known symptom of sleep apnea, not everyone who has sleep apnea will snore.
How can I treat sleep apnea?
Depending on the type of sleep apnea you have, there are several treatment options that may be available to you. Many people wear a device called a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine to sleep to keep air moving through the airway and keep it open. In some more severe cases, surgery may also be an option.
However, one of the most popular options for people with obstructive sleep apnea is the called oral appliance therapy. An oral appliance is designed to be worn while you sleep to keep your airway open. It looks a lot like a mouth guard you’d wear for contact sports or an orthodontic retainer. Many people choose this as a less intrusive way to keep their airways open while they sleep.
If you’re concerned you may have sleep apnea or would like to learn more about using an oral appliance to keep your airway clear, call the office today or make an appointment online.