Everything You Need to Know About Sleep Apnea

Everything You Need to Know About Sleep Apnea

Oct 01, 2020

Did you know that your dentist in Waco can do more than just treat your dental cavities? Dental experts are well trained and experienced in diagnosing and treating other health problems that are not necessarily about your teeth. A good example is sleep apnea.

While sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder, a dentist has authority and expertise in handling this problem accordingly. At the least, a sleep apnea dentist near you will diagnose you with the condition and refer you to a sleep doctor where need be.

What Is Sleep Apnea?

It is a sleeping and breathing disorder that affects patients during the night. Typically, it features the interruption of regular breathing patterns when you sleep. The interruptions are so much so that you may stop breathing for several seconds or minutes when you sleep. One of the main ways that this problem manifests is through snoring.

As the condition grows worse, the snoring gets worse. Unfortunately, sleep apnea can be a threatening health condition, especially when the moments of interrupted breathing are long. This means that your body will not be getting enough air while you sleep. It can, therefore, result in many serious health problems, including damages to the heart and brain.

Types of Sleep Apnea

Before you get overly caught up in the idea of treating your sleeping disorder, it is important to learn a thing or two about the different types of sleep apnea. They include:

  1. Obstructive sleep apnea – it is the most common type. It occurs when the muscles in your throat keep collapsing when you sleep. This obstructs the airways from delivering air to and from your body.
  2. Central sleep apnea – it is a problem with the communication between your brain and your throat muscles so that the brain does not send clear signals for the throat to contract and expand accordingly.
  3. Complex sleep apnea – it features a combination of both obstructive and central sleep apnea.

How Will You Know You Have Sleep Apnea?

The best way to self-diagnose this sleeping disorder is by considering the symptoms that manifest, including the following:

  1. Loud snoring
  2. Feelings of fatigue when you wake up
  3. Feeling sleepy during the day – when it is excessive, it is usually known as hypersomnia.
  4. Constantly gasping for air when you sleep.
  5. Having a dry mouth when you wake up
  6. Insomnia – it is described as a difficulty or inability of staying asleep at night.

Treatment Options For Sleep Apnea

How you treat this sleeping disorder depends on several factors. For one, you have to account for the type of sleep apnea you have, and the symptoms you are exhibiting. Different patients experience sleep apnea differently. For some, surgical measures that employ IV sedation dentistry must be employed for treatment. For other people, the treatment methods are non-invasive and may require simple lifestyle adjustments. Some of the treatments used include:

  1. Weight loss – this treatment works best for patients who are overweight or suffer from obesity, given as this is a big factor resulting in breathlessness. If you get into a weight loss plan, you may not need a treatment that requires oral sedation dentistry.
  2. Quit smoking – the damage that tobacco does to your body is enormous, ranging from lung cancer to sleep apnea.
  3. Use nasal decongestants – they help open up your nasal cavity, which encourages proper breathing.
  4. Treat underlying health problems – health issues like hypertension, diabetes, and heart failure are among the risk factors for a type of sleep apnea. Therefore, if you have them treated, then you may rid yourself of the symptoms of sleep apnea.
  5. Oral appliances – this is where you may need a significant contribution to your dentist. An oral appliance like a night guard can help open up your airways at night by keeping your upper and lower jaws open. This is only possible for customized night guards made specifically for that purpose.
  6. Exercise – your body needs to be fit in order to fight sleep apnea. Proper exercise will not only help you shed any extra weight but is also a great way to reduce the circumference of your neck. People with thicker necks have narrower airways, which may be a risk factor for sleep apnea.