Patients with sleep apnea are not always aware of their condition. Their bodies wake up repeatedly at night to restart breathing, but patients typically remain unconscious, unaware of the disturbance. Sleep apnea is typically marked by bouts of extremely loud snoring, and many patients only learn of their disorder when their partners complain of the noise. If you believe that you may have sleep apnea, then your dentist may be able to help you diagnose the issue and receive appropriate, customized treatment.
A Look at Snoring and Sleep Apnea
The mechanisms behind snoring are essentially the same as those behind sleep apnea, but to a different degree. As you sleep, the muscles and tissues in your body, including your mouth and throat, relax considerably. If oral tissues collapse into the airway, the partially-obscured path forces your breath through a smaller area, increasing air pressure and causing the tissues to vibrate. The noise can be heard as snoring, and it often dissipates if you change position. In some cases, abnormally large oral tissues, such as tonsils or the base of the tongue, can completely block the airway. This stops your breath for several moments until your brain panics and forcibly wakes your body. Known as apnic episodes, the routine can repeat itself hundreds of times a night, depriving you of much-needed deep sleep.
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
Aside from exaggerated snoring, other symptoms that may indicate the presence of sleep apnea include;
- Daytime fatigue/inability to stay awake
- Waking suddenly with a gasp, or a feeling of being choked
- Dry mouth/sore throat after waking
- Decreased ability to concentrate or remember
- Severe, recurring headaches/migraines, especially in the mornings
- Increased irritability
Depending on the severity of your condition, your dentist may recommend a custom-designed oral appliance that will hold your jaw in a slightly forward position. Wearing the device at night will help keep your airway clear by preventing oral tissues from collapsing into it.
Find Out if You Have Sleep Apnea
If you feel sleep deprived but don’t remember staying awake all night, or if you snore constantly and have been unable to stop, then you may be a victim of sleep apnea. To learn more, schedule a consultation with your dentist by calling Syosset Dental in Syosset, NY today at 516-433-2211 or 516-921-6930.