Loud snoring may not sound like a big deal until your partner tells you she can’t be with you because you snore. Jokes aside, snoring is a major sign of sleep apnea, a sleep disorder that can affect your day to day life. Luckily, there are treatments for this condition. In this blog, we will discuss sleep apnea in detail to help you make an informed decision about the treatment options available.
What is Sleep, Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a disorder that causes breathing interruptions when one is sleeping. The interruptions cause pauses that can last up to 20 seconds. The pauses can happen up to 100 times in one hour.
These pauses minimize the amount of oxygen you inhale, leading to less deep sleep, making you feel fatigued to carry out your daily activities. The disorder can also lead to potentially severe health conditions. Therefore, if you notice signs of sleep apnea, you should get help as soon as possible.
Types of Sleep Apnea
- Obstructive sleep apnea. It is the most common type, often characterized by loud snoring and interrupted breathing.
- Central sleep apnea. This type is less common and often caused by underlying health conditions. Typically, people suffering from central sleep apnea rarely snore.
- Mixed sleep apnea: It is a rare combination of obstructive and central sleep apnea.
Signs of Apnea
It is not easy to identify you suffer from sleep apnea if you live alone since the major symptoms occur when you are sleeping. If you have a partner, it will be much easier since they can observe the symptoms of sleep disorder, which include:
- Frequent and loud snoring
- Gasping for air in your sleep
- Daytime fatigue and sleepiness despite sleeping for eight hours or more.
- Waking up with a sore throat or dry mouth
- Shortness of breath when you wake up
- Morning headache.
Sleep Apnea Treatment Options
Before your dentist or doctor starts treating you for the disorder, you will need to be diagnosed. The diagnosis is often made based on your sleep, as shown by a study by a sleep specialist. Typically, if you have more than 30 pauses in an hour, you suffer from severe apnea. Luckily, even extreme apnea is treatable. Here are the treatment options that you have:
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)
CPAP involves the use of sleep apnea devices that delivers more air pressure than the surrounding air. By doing so, your airways stay open, hence preventing you from snoring. Just make sure to choose a device that will feel comfortable while using. If you continue snoring even with the machine, contact your doctor.
Use Other Appliances
If CPAP does not work for you, your doctor will recommend other devices such as BPAP and oral appliances. Most of the devices are available in your dentist’s office, so you can try several to identify the one that feels the most comfortable.
Treatment of Associated Health Problems
Central sleep apnea is often caused by underlying medical conditions. If the conditions are treated, it might help with the apnea.
Central sleep apnea can be treated by ensuring you get enough oxygen to the lungs using oxygen devices often available in a dental office.
If other sleep apnea treatment options fail to help you with the condition, your doctor will suggest surgery. It is typically the last resort and only considered after at least a month’s trial with the other treatment options. There are several surgical treatments, including:
- Tissue removal
- Tissue shrinkage
- Sleep apnea implants (not to be confused with dental implants).
- Jaw repositioning
- Nerve stimulation
- Bariatric surgery
Your dentist will help you choose the most suitable surgery for your condition. In most cases, surgical treatment will work.
At-Home RemediesFor mild to moderate sleep apnea, you can adopt a few lifestyle changes to manage the disorder. These changes include:
- Losing a few pounds
- Regular exercise can help manage obstructive sleep apnea.
- Avoid alcohol
- Avoid medications that can relax the muscles of your throat, such as sleeping pills and tranquilizers.
- Sleep on your abdomen or side if you are a back sleeper.
- Quit smoking
Family Dental Care
If you are looking for a dentist in Chicago, you are in the right place. We can help you with snoring and sleep apnea as well as dental conditions such as teeth whitening, cleaning, and exams. Book an appointment today.