Is It Just Snoring Or Something Else?
We all snore once in a while. Sleeping on your back can cause it, and if you tend to favor that position you’ve probably experienced a nudge in the ribs more than once from the person you share a bed with. But snoring isn’t always all there is going on – sometimes snoring indicates a serious problem that needs to be addressed.
That problem is called sleep apnea, and it can have serious health consequences if left unaddressed. At Millburn Dental Arts we’re able to treat your sleep apnea and help you not only get a more restful night of sleep, but also prevent serious health problems later in life.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a pattern of interrupted breathing during sleep. It’s usually accompanied by loud snoring that suddenly stops due to a blockage of the airway. Those blocked moments are called apneas and they can happen multiple times throughout the course of the night.
Airway blockage is a result of the soft tissues in the neck relaxing during sleep. When they relax they can reduce the size of your airway and become partially blocked, which is what causes snoring. Apneas occur when the airway is blocked completely, often due to the relaxation of the jaw or the tongue blocking the throat.
Who Gets Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea can happen to anyone, but there are certain factors that make your chances of developing the condition greater.
- obesity greatly increases the risk of sleep apnea because of excess pressure on the neck
- a narrow neck can also lead to obesity since the airway is smaller
- sleep apnea often runs in families: if a parent or grandparent has it your chances are greater
- men suffer from sleep apnea more frequently than women
- smoking, drinking, and sedative use can all contribute to sleep apnea risk
- nasal congestion is common in patients with sleep apnea
If you find some of those risk factors in your life you might be wondering if you have sleep apnea. Sufferers tend to exhibit some common symptoms like:
- daytime fatigue
- morning headaches
- dry mouth when waking
- problems maintaining attention
These symptoms alone don’t mean you have sleep apnea but they are a reason to come to Millburn Dental Arts for an evaluation!
Left untreated, sleep apnea has serious effects on your health. Sleep apnea sufferers are more likely to develop hypertension, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, liver problems, and difficulty with sedation commonly used during medical procedures. All of these conditions can lead to a decreased quality of life and a lot of unnecessary suffering that could be prevented with proper care!
Sleep Apnea Treatment At Millburn Dental Arts
When you come to us with sleep apnea symptoms the first thing we’ll do is have you answer a questionnaire that will give us a better understanding of your symptoms and sleep apnea potential. We’ll also perform a full exam to be sure there aren’t other conditions that could be causing the symptoms you’re experiencing.
Once we have a good idea that you’re suffering from sleep apnea we’ll order a sleep test. It is mailed directly to your home, allowing you to have the test performed in the comfort of your own bed. Once complete you simply send it back and we’ll receive the results from the testing organization.
If it turns out you do have sleep apnea we offer several solutions that can help relieve your symptoms and return you to a good night’s sleep. The most common devices we use to control sleep apnea are mouthguards that you wear while you sleep. These mouthguards are custom built and are designed to help keep your jaw and tongue in a comfortable, forward position that will prevent airway blockage.
Most patients we treat find relief with their nighttime mouthguards but not all patients will. If it turns out the mouthguard doesn’t help you we can also provide CPAP, or continuous positive airway pressure, treatment. Using a small bedside machine that attaches to a facemask, CPAP treatment keeps a constant pressurized flow of air moving into your airway to prevent airway collapse.
CPAP might sound uncomfortable but most patients adapt quickly and find great relief.
Don’t Delay A Sleep Apnea Diagnosis
The longer you wait to have your snoring symptoms checked the worse the effects on your health. Do the best thing for your future happiness and contact Millburn Dental Arts today to conduct a sleep apnea test.