Snoring can be a major concern for your loved ones. Not only is it a bit of a nuisance, but it can be a sign of a more serious problem, such as sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which the breathing of the sufferer continually starts and stops. Oftentimes, sufferers don’t even know they have this condition. You may have sleep apnea if you snore loudly and you’re tired, even after a full night’s sleep.
There are two main types of sleep apnea:
- Obstructive sleep apnea, the more common form that occurs when throat muscles relax
- Central sleep apnea, which occurs when your brain doesn’t send proper signals to the muscles that control breathing.
The most common signs and symptoms of obstructive and central sleep apneas include:
- Being overly tired during the day (hypersomnia)
- Loud snoring
- Your breathing “pauses” during sleep
- Abrupt awakenings accompanied by shortness of breath
- Waking up with a dry mouth or sore throat
- Waking up with a headache
- Difficulty staying asleep (insomnia)
- Problems paying attention during the day.
Oral appliance therapy has shown to be effective in treating obstructive sleep apnea. Your dentist will fit you with a small plastic mouth piece that looks like a mouthguard or retainer. The oral appliance helps prevent your tongue and the soft tissues in the back of your throat from collapsing. As a result, your airway remains open during sleep, giving you adequate air intake.
Your Mesa dentist will select and fit a specially designed oral appliance that maintains an open, unobstructed airway in the throat during sleep. Studies have shown that custom-made oral appliances are more effective than over-the-counter devices. Custom-fitted devices reposition and stabilize the lower jaw and tongue and increase the muscle tone of the tongue. Treatment is non-invasive and the appliances are comfortable and easy to wear. Most patients say that it only takes a couple weeks to adjust to wearing the appliance.
If you’re a loud snorer, your family is sure to tell you. More than just a minor nuisance, snoring could be a symptom of sleep apnea. If you’ve been accused of rattling the walls in your sleep, talk to your doctor or dentist today about treatments for sleep apnea.