Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder characterized by breathing problems and sleep disruptions. People with the condition often feel tired and irritable when they wake up. Early treatment is crucial to preventing dental and cardiovascular disease. Our dentist at Singing River Dentistry can recommend non-invasive solutions to address sleep apnea. We conduct thorough health examinations to find the best solution for your lifestyle and needs.
What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a more common type of sleep disorder. It is different from central sleep apnea, which is caused by poor communication between the muscles and the brain. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when there is a physical blockage of the airway. The muscles at the back of the throat relax and block breathing. An individual with OSA may wake up several times during the night when breathing stops temporarily.
Breathing may stop every half an hour throughout the night. This recurring pattern means that the body will not attain the deep level of rest possible with deep sleep. You may wake up feeling tired and confused. The breathing disruptions are usually so brief that you will not recall the episodes in the morning.
Sleep Apnea Dental and Health Complications
Sleep apnea can lead to various health and cognitive complications if you delay treatment. Since people with sleep apnea do not get adequate rest when they sleep, they may find it hard to concentrate. The condition is responsible for many incidences of job impairment and accidents at work.
Untreated sleep apnea can strain the cardiovascular and metabolic systems. Depleted blood oxygen forces the body to increase the blood pressure to compensate. It can worsen diabetes type-2 and raise your blood pressure. Sleep apnea may also impact your oral health. By breathing through the mouth, it dries up the oral cavity. A dry mouth is more susceptible to bacteria that cause tartar buildup. Sleep apnea can increase your risk of gingivitis and periodontal disease.
Sleep Apnea Risk Factors
Your age and the anatomical features of your neck are some of the primary factors behind the condition. People that are overweight or individuals with short jaws are more at risk of sleep apnea. However, it can affect people of any age or gender. If you smoke or drink, you are more at risk of developing sleep apnea complications. Your medication may also affect your sleep pattern, worsening your breathing problems. It is advisable to tell your doctor about any sleep apnea medication or treatment you have had in the past.
Sleep Apnea Management and Treatment
You can manage sleep apnea by adjusting your habits and lifestyle. People with mild sleep apnea can benefit by reducing alcohol and tobacco intake. Smoking and drinking will impact your oral health and make it harder to recover from sleep disorders.
Our dental specialist will arrange for an initial diagnosis to identify risk factors. There are multiple treatment options, which are determined by the severity of your condition. Our team can recommend a non-invasive oral appliance that locks the jaw in position. The device prevents the tongue from shifting back to block the airway at the back of the throat.
Our dental team at Singing River Dentistry is ready to answer any questions regarding sleep apnea. Schedule an office visit with our dentist by calling (256) 293-5393.
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