Sleep apnea is a sleeping problem that, if left untreated, can lead to major health concerns such as high blood pressure and heart issues. Untreated sleep apnea leads to restriction in breathing, resulting in loud snoring and fatigue during the day, even after a full night’s sleep. 

Although it is generally considered to be rampant among overweight elderly men, sleep apnea may affect anybody.  There can be several reasons for sleep apnea. It is always a good idea to consult your doctor or dentist if you think you have sleep apnea.

Reasons of snoring

Snoring can be caused by a variety of causes, including the structure of your mouth, alcohol intake, allergies, a cold, and body weight. When you fall asleep and proceed from light to deep sleep, the airway muscles relax and lose tension.  The tongue also falls back and causes constriction of the airway. 

Signs & symptoms

Snoring can be a symptom of sleep apnea but not necessarily. Not everyone who snores has OSA, but if your snoring is coupled with any of the symptoms listed below, you should consult a doctor for additional assessment of the illness.

  • Concentration problems
  • High blood pressure 
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Gasping or choking during sleep
  • Low attention span, behavioral difficulties in children
  • Headaches in the morning
  • Observed breathing pauses while sleeping
  • Excessive drowsiness during the day

How sleep apnea relates to oral health

Most people don’t realize why they would need a dentist for their sleep problems. While sleep apnea is a medical condition, it can be related the position of the tongue or jaw. People with sleep apnea may suffer from dental problems.  Sleep apnea patients tend to grind and clench their teeth, tooth wear and fractured teeth is a common issue.  If you think you have sleep apnea, you should visit your doctor or dentist.

Diagnosis of sleep apnea

To diagnose the condition of sleep apnea, doctors will use: 

  1. Examination and medical history
  2. Sleep study called polysomnography

Treatment options for sleep apnea

  • Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). 
  • Surgery
  • Oral Appliance Therapy

Oral Appliance Therapy for Obstructive Sleep Apnea

If you have mild to moderate sleep apnea due to your tongue blocking the throat and/or lower jaw problems, it can be treated with oral appliances without having to go through surgery. For mild to moderate cases of sleep apnea, dentists use oral mandibular advancement devices. These are simple dental appliances that are designed to prevent the tongue from blocking the throat and/or lower jaw and keep the airway open as you sleep. At Aberdeen Dental Clinic in Vernon, our doctors can help you with better sleep.

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