Sleep Apnea Information
Sleep apnea is an inability for your body to get adequate oxygen while sleeping and in some cases, you stop breathing all together for short periods, up to 40 seconds, while sleeping. When your mouth and pharynx muscles relax too much while you sleep, your tongue prevents air from reaching your lungs. When your brain realizes that the body is not receiving enough oxygen, the brain wakes up you so some people even wake up gasping for air from their sleep apnea. Some people just wake up enough to move and resume breathing without realizing they are waking up multiple times a night when they start their day in the morning.
Most people are able to maintain even and constant breathing while sleeping, the people who cannot suffer from obstructive sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is when your breathing passageway is blocked or obstructed from breathing properly. People who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea often experience loud snoring, chronic fatigue, shortness of breath while sleeping, chronic lethargy and the inability to relax and sleep as the body requires. Most people do not realize that they are suffering from sleep apnea until another person witnesses them sleeping and can report that they stopped breathing.
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1426 Commonwealth Dr. Suite A, Wilmington, NC 28403
Dangers of Sleep Apnea
In addition to the life threatening inability to obtain oxygen and oxygen deprivation of your brain, sleep apnea also threatens:
- Decreased sex drive
- Chronic headaches
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Memory loss or impairment
Sleep apnea is not an annoyance or a struggle to stop snoring. Sleep apnea is a serious medical issue that requires treatment and does not need to be a threat to you and your health.
Sleep Apea Treatment Options
Depending on the cause for your sleep apnea, there are a variety of treatment plans to help you get better sleep and breathe better while you sleep. Some of the best ways to treat sleep apnea are:
- Lifestyle changes: While it seems like eating healthy and losing weight seems to be a cure all to every ailment people get, eating a diet rich of plant based foods and no processed foods as well as regular exercise will allow your body to be a better state to have productive, unimpaired sleep. Not using tobacco products and avoiding alcohol will allow the body to be chemical free and more ready to have a cohesive night’s rest. These may sounds like fast ways to a boring lifestyle, but imagine the energy you will have when you start sleeping well night after night.
- CPAP Machine: Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Machine is a breathing machine attached to a mask to help you keep your airways open. Most people prefer to not sleep with a mask over their nose and mouth, though.
- Surgery: Doctors have surgical methods to widen your airways should all the other methods fail to yield effective results.
- Oral Appliances: The best treatment method with a lifestyle change to avoid sleeping in a mask or having surgery is wearing an oral appliance to help keep your jaw in place so your airway stays open and unobstructed.
Oral Appliances for Treatment
To help treat sleep apnea and other sleep related breathing problems including snoring, oral appliance are simple adjustable appliances worn while you sleep. They are similar to night guards used by people with TMJ and TMD, but instead of protecting the teeth, the oral appliance holds the lower jaw in a forward position. Both night guards and oral appliances are custom made to fit your mouth specifically and help keep you in the best health. When your lower jaw sits a little more forward than it usually does, the jaw and tongue are stabilized allowing for air to enter. Not only will you sleep better with the oral appliance because you can breathe, but you can sleep better knowing you are breathing well and your body is getting the oxygen is requires.
Benefits of Oral Appliances
In addition to lifestyle changes, oral appliances are the least intrusive and invasive means of treating your sleep apnea. The advantages of using an oral appliance is that it is quiet and will not disturb other people trying to sleep next to you, unlike a CPAP machine. Oral appliances are easy to wear and easy to transport, unlike CPAP machines that require a mask to cover your nose and mouth, electricity to run and are more cumbersome to move around when traveling.
After Care For Sleep Apnea Treatments
During the days and weeks following the more invasive appointments, eating softer foods will keep you comfortable. Once the healing process takes hold, you can gradually include harder and more abrasive foods. Once your dentist has completed work on your sleep apnea treatment, and you are fully healed, you need to take care of your teeth and your jaw to keep your overall health strong.
Cost of Sleep Apnea Therapies
Costs for each procedure vary depending on how long the procedure takes, what materials the procedure requires, how many visits the procedure requires, and the amount of work the dentist is required to do. It may surprise you to know, but dental insurance may cover some of the costs for these as well as elective procedures as they lead to improved overall dental health and long term benefits. If you do not have dental insurance coverage or you have any questions about payment options for your treatment plan, you are more than welcome to talk to our staff at any time. Your budget’s health is just as important as your mouth’s health.
High Quality Care You Can Trust
At Edgerton & Glenn Cosmetic and General Dentistry. We strive to build relationships with our patients. You are more than just teeth, you are our patient and friend and we want to help you to achieve and maintain oral health as best we can. We look forward to meeting you and talking about what is best for you and your mouth. Please contact us to set up a Sleep Apnea appointment at (910) 256-9230.