When Snoring Becomes a Bigger Problem
- Posted on: Jun 30 2017
Snoring. It’s a nasty little habit that millions of people do each night. Much of the time, snoring is perceived as an annoyance. However, there may be much more to this pesky problem than meets the eye, or the nose. In our Atlanta dental office, we help patients address the issue of snoring caused by obstructive sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder with three general types. To have obstructive sleep apnea means that, when you sleep, your breathing is interrupted for several seconds at a time. As if a single episode of interruption is not enough, many people with obstructive sleep apnea experience hundreds of pauses in breathing each night. These pauses occur when tissue closes the airway. Breathing resumes when the body is flooded with adrenaline from the non-oxygenated brain.
Consequences you Want to Avoid
People with obstructive sleep apnea clearly do not get the restful sleep that is needed for optimal function during waking hours. Such individuals are more prone to accidents at work or on the road. Children with sleep apnea are often diagnosed with behavioral disorders (should we say, misdiagnosed) or poor academic performance. Additional consequences that may occur if sleep apnea is not treated include:
- Worsening of ADHD
- High blood pressure
- Cardiovascular problems
When to get Help
If there is any indication of sleep apnea, a full medical consultation and examination is recommended. See your doctor if you or a loved one:
- Snore loudly, then stop snoring for a few moments.
- Resume breathing with a gasp or choking sound.
- Feel excessively tired during waking hours.
- Experience frequent headaches in the morning.
- Often wake with a sore or dry throat.
- Routinely sleep restlessly.
Dental Treatment to the Rescue?
Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep disorder, which makes it a general medical problem. Why would one see their dentist to treat a medical problem? Obstructive sleep apnea is a direct airway problem. The standard medical treatment centers around opening the airway with forced air. As gentle as it is, CPAP therapy is not well-tolerated by many people. Dentists like Dr. Flax offer a CPAP alternative: oral appliance therapy, which maintains air flow with comfortable, manual jaw positioning.
Posted in: Sleep Apnea