Throughout your entire life, people have commented on your snoring – from your parents to your spouse, everyone knows about your noisy nighttime habit. But lately, things have been getting worse. You’ve been waking up with migraines, you’re exhausted all day long, and you’re becoming forgetful, as well as irritable, even though you hate to admit it. You wonder what could be wrong – and you know you need help when your partner told you they witnessed you stop breathing while asleep the other night. After speaking with your doctor and undergoing a sleep study, you’re diagnosed with sleep apnea. In this post, the team at Flenniken Family Dentistry explain the signs and symptoms of this disorder, your risk factors for developing this condition, and how they can help with dental sleep apnea therapy in Carlisle.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is the second most common sleep disorder behind insomnia. Most people who have this suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). In this condition, your tongue and lower jaw relax and slide against the back of your throat when you sleep, which prevents you from breathing correctly.
Thankfully, your body knows you’re not getting the oxygen you need, and wakes you up, but only enough to make you start breathing properly – not enough to make you conscious of waking. These “micro-arousals” can happen hundreds of times a night, leaving you exhausted the next day – no matter how much you sleep – and without a reason why.
What Are The Symptoms Of Sleep Apnea?
Our team of five expert dentists explain that sleep apnea has many common symptoms, including:
- Gaps or elongated pauses in breathing when you sleep – usually noticed by your partner.
- Waking up gasping for air or with an asthma attack.
- Morning headaches.
- Extreme daytime sleepiness, no matter how many hours of rest you get at night.
- Sleepiness while driving.
- Craving carbs and sweets for energy.
- Depression, irritability, forgetfulness, and trouble concentrating.
- Sexual dysfunction or a decreased interest in sex.
What Puts Me At Risk For Sleep Apnea?
Your risks for this condition can increase if you meet the criteria below:
- Being over 40 in age.
- Being overweight.
- Being a male.
- Having a family history of snoring or sleep apnea.
- Being African-American.
- Using alcohol, especially to excess.
- Having a large neck circumference.
- Having a naturally narrow airway, or one that is blocked by tonsils or adenoids.
- Suffering from nasal congestion or having difficulty breathing through your nose.
If any of these risk factors sound familiar, you can take this sleep apnea quiz to see if this is a medical condition you should speak with your doctor or our dentists about.
How Can Flenniken Family Dentistry Help With Sleep Apnea?
Our team can give you the good night’s rest you deserve by using Custom Oral Appliance Therapy, also referred to as COAT. With this treatment, we’ll prescribe a device that looks similar to a nightguard, and that will gently shift your jaw forward while you sleep – opening your airway and allowing you to breathe easily.
COAT is effective and generally works for about 80% of patients – and, it can be used both on its own and in conjunction with CPAP, to give you the best quality sleep possible.
Now that you know how snoring and sleep apnea could be robbing you of the rest you deserve, schedule your appointment with Flenniken Family Dental to get back to sleep!