Sleep apnea is a common condition. It is one of the two most common sleep disorders, a close second to insomnia. Although it occurs so frequently, many people do not know what sleep apnea is or what to look for.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a disorder that affects your breathing when you sleep. When you lay down to sleep, especially on your back, your tongue slides back toward your throat and blocks your airway. The sound of snoring is created when your airway is partially obstructed and the air moving over your tongue causes vibrations.
Sleep apnea occurs when your airway becomes completely blocked and you stop breathing. After a few seconds or minutes at the most, your brain registers the lack of oxygen and rouses you from sleep so you can change positions and resume breathing. This can occur frequently overnight and the frequent interruptions to your natural sleep cycles prevents you from getting adequate, restful sleep.
Common Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
The following symptoms often indicate sleep apnea:
- Constantly feeling tired
- Lack of energy
- Dozing off during the day
- Waking up gasping for air
- Dry mouth
- Sore throat
- Mood changes
- Lack of focus
Where To Go For Sleep Apnea Diagnosis and Treatment
If you think you may have sleep apnea, you may be unsure of where to go for diagnosis and treatment. The first person to talk to you about your sleep apnea symptoms could be your dentist since they are doing an oral exam. It’s important to coordinate your sleep apnea diagnosis and treatment with your medical doctor as they will be the one to confirm your diagnosis with a sleep study.
Dentists specialize in the anatomy of the mouth and jaw, which is where the problem exists for most sleep apnea sufferers. Your dentist can provide a few different treatments after evaluating the cause of your sleep apnea.
Treatments for Sleep Apnea
There are a few different treatments for sleep apnea:
- CPAP: Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) is a machine that delivers a constant flow of air through a mask worn over the mouth and nose. It keeps your airway open so that you are able to breathe properly throughout the night. This is prescribed by a sleep specialist.
- Oral Appliance: Your dentist can provide you with an oral appliance that positions your jaw to prevent your tongue from sliding back to block your airway. This can put an end to snoring and sleep apnea symptoms for many patients.
- Orthodontic Treatment: For some patients orthodontic treatment can properly position the teeth so that the tongue has room to rest against the roof of your mouth while you sleep, which keeps your airway open.
- Jaw Surgery: Jaw surgery can change the shape of your jaw so that your tongue stays in the proper position and won’t block your airway when you sleep.
- Throat Surgery: Surgical procedures can be performed on the throat to remove excess tissue and keep your airway unobstructed.
What’s the Easiest Way to Treat Sleep Apnea?
If you’re not interested in long treatment, surgery, or lugging a bulky CPAP machine around when you travel, an oral appliance may be the best treatment option for your sleep apnea. A custom oral appliance is compact and comfortable. You may notice an improvement in how you feel in as little as one week. Your partner may also experience better quality sleep once your sleep apnea is under control.
Why Choose Barkoff Dental For Sleep Apnea Treatment?
Barkoff Dental specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of sleep apnea. We have helped numerous patients get better quality sleep with just a small oral appliance. The SomnoDent® Sleep Apnea Appliance can stop snoring and help keep your airway open while you sleep. You’ll experience better quality sleep and improved overall health and wellness.