For months now, you felt like you haven’t gotten a good night’s sleep. You’re on a first name basis with the folks at The Daily Grind and you’ve have reorganized your commute into work to make sure you stop there before heading into the office. One day, when driving home, you were so sleepy that you started to doze off at the wheel on the NJ Turnpike. Clearly, something is wrong. You work with your doctor and she tells you you’ve got sleep apnea. You try the CPAP, but it’s uncomfortable and irritates your face. You can’t bear the thought of falling asleep at the wheel, and your wife is losing sleep because you snore so much –the CPAP isn’t working for you, but what can you do? Thankfully, there are other, more comfortable options available for sleep apnea therapy in Mt. Holly with Mt. Holly Family Dentistry.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that is most often caused by obstruction to the airway (OSA – obstructive sleep apnea – is the most common type of sleep apnea). When you sleep, the tongue and throat muscles relax, and the tongue slides toward the back of your throat, blocking your airway. It stops you from breathing, increases blood pressure, and causes you to wake up to start breathing again.
Although you probably don’t remember waking up at night, your brain is smart enough to know you’re not getting the oxygen you need, so you have “micro-arousals” – you wake up (not consciously) for 1-3 seconds, and don’t even realize you’re waking up. Since micro-arousals can happen 50 or more times a night, this is exactly why you’re so exhausted all day, but can’t figure out why.
Could I Have Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is remarkably common – it’s the second most popular sleep-related problem people face, behind insomnia. While snoring is often a primary symptom, people tend to think of this as just an annoyance, rather than a serious medical condition. And, you don’t have to snore to have sleep apnea – you can be a completely quiet sleeper and still have the condition!
Let’s review some of the common symptoms for sleep apnea:
- Daytime sleepiness or extreme fatigue
- Waking up gasping or experiencing asthma attacks while sleeping (if you’re asthmatic)
- Morning headaches
- Waking up frequently while sleeping, especially to use the bathroom
- Dry mouth or sore throat when waking up
- Night sweats
- Forgetfulness, depression, irritability, trouble concentrating
- Sexual problems
Sleep Apnea FAQs
Why do I feel more tired or snore more when I sleep on my back? Sleep position can make it easier or more difficult to breathe. Sleeping on your back moves the tongue further back in the throat than side or stomach sleeping. It makes the diaphragm have to work harder to pull air into your lungs.
Is sleep apnea really that dangerous? Yes. Sleep apnea can cause a rise in blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, and sudden death. People with sleep apnea are also at an increased risk for early death. And, many people with sleep apnea report dozing off at the wheel, which is very unsafe.
What can I do if I think I have sleep apnea? Talk with the team at Mt. Holly Family Dentistry and take their sleep apnea quiz.
Dental Alternatives to CPAP
To find out if you have sleep apnea, you’ll have a sleep study to discover what the degree of your sleep apnea is and how to treat this. Many sleep doctors will recommend CPAP – a machine that keeps your airways open by blowing air into your lungs all night via tubing. Since a CPAP machine can be uncomfortable, expensive, and embarrassing for many patients, there are dental alternatives for sleep apnea treatment in Mt. Holly.
With dental sleep apnea treatment, you’ll be fitted for a special dental device (similar to a nightguard) that moves your lower jaw forward, placing the tongue out of the airway and allowing you to breathe easily. Dental treatment for sleep apnea works for the vast majority of patients, and it’s less expensive and way more comfortable. Plus, there are no embarrassing tubes to tangle with at night, or an expensive machine you have to lug with you on vacation.
If you have sleep apnea and CPAP isn’t working, you don’t have to suffer or risk your health – schedule your appointment with the Mt. Holly Family Dentistry team today and get back to sleeping like a baby!