Sleep apnea is a condition in which breathing starts and stops throughout a person's sleep. Not only can it result in poor, unrestful sleep, but the condition is potentially very serious, increasing the risk of sudden cardiac death. To better understand sleep apnea and how a dentist can help treat it, below are answers to some of the more commonly asked questions on the subject.
Answers to Questions About Sleep Apnea
What causes sleep apnea?
There are two main types of sleep apnea. In obstructive sleep apnea, the muscles of the throat relax during sleep to such a point that the airway closes, making breathing more difficult. Central sleep apnea is not as common. It’s caused by the brain sending ineffective signals to the muscles that control breathing during sleep. In rare cases, an individual can have aspects of both types of sleep apnea.
What are its symptoms?
The primary symptoms of sleep apnea are loud snoring and gasping for air during sleep. As airflow restricts, these more unusual sounds are naturally produced by the throat. You might also wake up with a headache or a dry mouth. You could encounter disruptions to your sleep pattern, indicated by problems staying asleep at night or staying awake during the day.
Who is most affected by it?
Overweight individuals have the highest chances of developing sleep apnea, as fat collected around the airways can greatly restrict breathing. Men and seniors are more prone to the condition as well. If you take sedatives or muscle relaxers, these medications can cause the muscles of the throat to relax too much and obstruct breathing.
How can a dentist help?
Dentists can help treat sleep apnea by making an oral appliance that could replace a CPAP machine. First, the dentist would evaluate if you are a candidate to wear a sleep apnea oral appliance. If sleep apnea is a suspected condition, the dentist can refer you for a sleep study to decide if oral appliance therapy would be right for you.
If you suspect you have sleep apnea, it’s wise to seek a dentist who can help alleviate your symptoms. Drs. Emery & Scuro DMD, PC has treated patients throughout the Monroe County, NY, area for over 35 years. In addition to sleep apnea therapy, this trusted team of dentists offers a wide range of preventive dental care services. From routine exams to comprehensive teeth whitening solutions, they ensure that your smile shines. Call (585) 247-7110 to schedule an appointment or visit them online to browse their sleep apnea services.