Woman Sleeping Well

Getting a good night’s sleep is one of the best things you can do for your health. But there are many things that can prevent you from getting the high-quality sleep that will leave you feeling refreshed in the morning. 

People who experience sleep apnea often don’t get quality sleep & feel tired all day. That makes it hard to participate in daily activities, both at work & for fun. Thankfully, there are a couple options for dealing with sleep apnea, & one of them involves the dentist.

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a condition that affects your ability to breath while you sleep. People with sleep apnea experience pauses in their breathing caused by their airway collapsing or their tongue sliding back into their airway. The brain, thinking you’re choking, reacts by waking you up, which restores the airway enough for you to go back to sleep.

Often, patients with sleep apnea don’t wake up fully enough to know this is happening, & it can happen dozens of times overnight, interrupting their natural sleep patterns. People with sleep apnea are left feeling tired even after a full night’s rest.

How Is Sleep Apnea Diagnosed?

Often, people with sleep apnea don’t know they have it. Their partner or other loved ones often notice the symptoms. If your partner complains about your snoring or expresses concern that you appear to stop breathing sometimes in your sleep, it’s very possible that you have sleep apnea. However, it’s important to talk to your doctor to confirm & discuss a course of action.

What Does the Dentist Have to Do With Sleep Apnea?

There are two common treatments for sleep apnea. The first is a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machine, or CPAP. This machine pushes air past your tongue & into your airway to prevent any blockage. The other treatment is an oral device custom-made by your dentist. These devices sit around your teeth and hold your jaw & tongue in a position to keep your airway open.

While having something in your mouth is probably the last thing you want while you sleep, oral appliances do give you more freedom in how you sleep. Are you a side or stomach sleeper? Those positions are much easier to get into with an oral appliance, compared to a CPAP that is tethered to the night stand.

Whatever treatment you choose for your sleep apnea, it’s important that you get the high quality sleep that you need to be in tip-top shape. If you’d like more information about how your dentist may be able to help with sleep apnea, simply ask! They’d be happy to answer any questions you have.

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