Everything You Should Know About Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea affects many people, and while some may only have mild sleep disturbances, others may have long moments with the inability to breathe. Regardless, sleep apnea can also affect you during the daytime. If you would like to know more about sleep apnea, keep reading. 

What Causes Sleep Apnea?

The cause of sleep apnea depends on the type of sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common type and develops when your throat muscles relax, which causes the throat to collapse a little. You may have an increased risk of obstructive sleep apnea if:

  • You carry excess weight that adds fat around your upper airway
  • You have a narrowed airway due to tonsilitis or genetics
  • You smoke, drink alcohol, or use sedatives
  • You have frequent nasal congestion

Central sleep apnea, however, occurs when the brain fails to send proper signals to the rest of the body to breathe. As a result, you simply stop breathing for a short time. If you have both types of sleep apnea, your doctor may diagnose you with complex sleep apnea syndrome.

What Are the Signs of Sleep Apnea?

Some of the most obvious signs of sleep apnea are hard to spot because you're sleeping. If you share a bed with someone, they can tell you if you snore loudly, stop breathing for periods of time during sleep, or gasp for air during sleep.

Other signs are more noticeable and include:

  • Insomnia at night
  • Hypersomnia during the day
  • Difficulty paying attention
  • Irritability

How Can Your Dentist Treat Sleep Apnea?

Unfortunately, many patients with sleep apnea need to use a CPAP machine while they sleep. These can be obnoxious and need regular cleaning. However, if you have mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea, your dentist may be able to help. They can use an oral appliance to force the jaw forward. This helps prevent the tongue from blocking the throat and the throat from collapsing.

Unlike a CPAP machine, this oral appliance is easy to take with you when you travel, and it's less noticeable and obstructive. Your dentist will ensure the appliance fits your bite, making it more comfortable and effective.

If you have sleep apnea, you have some options. Many patients turn to CPAP machines, many other patients discover a convenient solution at the dentist's office. If you would like to know more about sleep apnea treatments, contact a dentist in your area today.