Sleep apnea occurs when breathing stops during sleep for at least ten seconds, five times or more per hour. While mild sleep apnea causes few symptoms, the condition can lead to more serious problems such as low oxygen levels which can even be life threatening.
Untreated sleep apnea can result in dangerous daytime sleepiness – if you have to drive to work or elsewhere your odds of being in an accident greatly increase. It can also cause high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke.
Sleep apnea symptoms
If you find yourself frequently waking up at night or your partner complains about your loud, chronic snoring you might have sleep apnea. Other signs include waking up feeling out of breath, or with a dry mouth and sore throat, difficulty concentrating and moodiness, irritability and depression just to name a few.
Getting help for sleep apnea
Did you know that a dentist can help you with sleep apnea? Although sleep apnea occurs within the airways, its symptoms are produced through the mouth, and as experts in this area some dentists have significant knowledge on sleep apnea. Dr. Rita Medwid at Stuart Dental Health Spa is a popular Florida dentist who has experience helping patients treat this condition.
A sleep apnea device is commonly used to treat sleep apnea by reducing episodes that occur resulting from the disorder.
One of the most common devices used is a mandibular advancement device, resembling the mouth guards worn by basketball and football players. It moves the lower half of the jaw forward slightly while freeing the blocked passages of air that are typically caused by an overbite. The device is inserted into the mouth overnight, with the patient experience less restriction on their breathing as well as less snoring.
Another sleep apnea device that may be used is the tongue retraining device. It uses a splint that holds the tongue in place while you sleep. In many patients suffering from sleep apnea, their tongue is blocking the air passages; therefore, a tongue retraining process is crucial. Using the device may train the tongue to naturally stay in place after a period of time.
Importance of using a dentist
Choosing to receive sleep apnea treatment from an experienced dentist is also beneficial as the dentist is often able to pick out specific problems within your mouth that may be contributing to your sleep apnea. Dental treatments, including a sleep apnea device, can offer many positive benefits to a person’s health and appearance.