Agoura Hills, CA
If you are dealing with a partner, roommate, or friend who either snores or complains about your snoring, there is a chance that sleep apnea is at play. This is a sleep disorder that can keep people up at night and can be very harmful for the snorer. If you have someone in your life who snores and you do not know how to help them, read this article written by our Artistic Smiles experts!
Sleep apnea is nothing more than your breathing pausing while you sleep. Instead of inhaling or exhaling normally during sleep, everything momentarily stops. The muscle movement, the movement of your lungs, the movement of your diaphragm, and the suction that inhales the breath, everything.
These pauses in breathing are not enough to cause you any harm or even wake you up, but it does cause your body to produce a loud snoring like sound. It also can disrupt your sleep, causing someone with sleep apnea to feel tired the next day.
Sleep Apnea Symptoms
It might be difficult to determine which type of sleep apnea you are suffering from because the symptoms are similar in most cases. These symptoms include shortness of breath when sleeping, waking up with a dry mouth, loud snoring, waking up with a headache, insomnia, feeling sleepy during the day regardless of how much sleep you got, episodes of not breathing while asleep, and finding it difficult to pay attention.
Types Of Sleep Apnea
There are two different types of sleep apnea, with each type acting the same. The first is obstructive sleep apnea which is where something blocks your airflow. Medical professionals are not sure what actually is blocking the airflow to your lungs, but the breathing is interrupted, forcing you to snore.
Central sleep apnea is where your unconscious breathing stops, and it takes a moment for the breath to start up again. In either case, when you stop breathing, the brain senses the amount of carbon dioxide in your blood and signals for you to awaken. This causes the airway to clear and/or the unconscious breathing to restart.
Then the cycle starts all over again, ruining your sleep and causing you to feel restless in the morning. The effects of sleep apnea can cause various other health problems as well, including increasing your risks for various diseases.
How We Fix Sleep Apnea
Our dentists will do their best to fix your sleep apnea by changing your lifestyle. This often starts with behavioral changes that can clear obstructed airways. For example, one of the things we recommend is that you should avoid taking sedatives and sleeping pills to go to sleep. While these items do relax you, they can also cause the collapse of the airways thanks to your weakened muscles.
We also recommend the use of a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machine (or CPAP) device, to help treat moderate to severe sleep apnea. This machine typically comes with a mask, and it keeps your airways open by using pressurized air and allowing you to breathe without any pausing.
Oral Appliance Therapy
In dealing with the condition known as sleep apnea, many people who suffer from it are unaware of the various types of dental devices and oral appliances that may be able to help them. It is important to note that any severe or certainly life threatening case of sleep apnea should be addressed with a medical professional or specialist immediately. For the more common cases, one of our dentists here at Artistic Smiles may be able to offer an effective solution.
Oral appliances are designed and intended to treat one particular type of sleep apnea over the other; obstructive sleep apnea. In these cases, oral appliance therapy may help.
There are two main types of these treatment products: mandibular advancement devices and tongue retaining devices. MADs are the more common of the two options. They are similar to sports mouthguards in appearance and they help to slightly adjust the jaw position when sleeping to make breathing easier. Tongue retaining devices are less popular but are still preferred by some of those who suffer from sleep apnea. These are splints which hold the tongue in its proper place to help keep the airway open when lying down.
Choosing the Right One for You
One of the main reasons that dental appliances can, in many ways, be superior to CPAP machines in treating sleep apnea is the fact that it is much more convenient for people to actually use them. They require much less care and maintenance than do CPAPs. Once you have decided which one is the right treatment option for you, the process of having it fitted will follow. Our dentists will explain all of your options and help you decide which one is best.
Getting Fitted for and Accustomed to Your New Device
The reason that you will want to have these oral appliances fitted and custom made by one of our dental professionals is because that is the only way to ensure a high quality device which is effective and safe. Over the counter mouthguards and other products can cause jaw pain, tooth movement, as well as a number of other issues.
Oral appliances to help treat or manage sleep apnea may be just the solution you are looking for in regards to dealing with your condition.
Contact Us So You Can Start Sleeping Better!
While you might not think that snoring is a dental problem, it is, and at Artistic Smiles, our dentists are right there to solve it with you. If you are dealing with loud snoring or health problems caused by sleep apnea, call (818) 930-5647 and set up an appointment where we can start prescribing treatment for you as soon as possible. Our dentists will bring peace and quiet to your home once more and allow you to get a good night’s sleep too!