How Dental Appliances Can Help You With Sleep Apnea

Sleep is an important part of your overall health and if you aren't resting well then you could be experiencing other conditions. Today, our Edmonton dentists talk about sleep disorders such as sleep apnea and how dental appliances may be able to help manage the symptoms.

The Types of Sleep Apnea

If you suffer from pauses in your breathing while then you are likely experiencing the symptoms of sleep apnea. These apneas can occur due to a physical blockage of airflow, a lack of respiratory effort, or both.

Did you know that there are three different types of sleep apnea? These are:

  • Obstructive sleep apnea 
  • Central sleep apnea 
  • Complex sleep apnea syndrome (occurs when someone has obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea)

Are there any specific causes of sleep apnea?

Your mouth and face relax along with the rest of your body as you sleep. For those with sleep apnea, the throat tissues and soft palate over-relax, causing them to collapse into the back of your throat, blocking the airway.

When the airway is blocked, the flow of oxygen ceases, and as a result, your brain forces you to wake up slightly to consciously resume breathing. Your ability to gain a restful sleep is disrupted as this can happen a number of times throughout the night.

How will your sleep apnea be diagnosed?

Symptoms of sleep apnea include heavy snoring, headaches and migraines upon waking, restless sleep, excessive daytime fatigue, problems focusing, irritability, depression and TMJ symptoms.

While you may snore if you have sleep apnea, you shouldn't expect everyone who snores to experience sleep apnea. You will need to visit with a medical professional if you are suffering from any of the symptoms of sleep apnea.

Once your issue has been diagnosed by a medical professional, your dentists can help you get a better night’s rest with a number of treatment options. We will complete a full examination of your teeth, tongue, airway and jaw, and potentially take an x-ray of your airway, to determine the right appliance for your needs.

Can dental appliances manage your symptoms?

Dental appliances can help by positioning your lower jaw further forward, effectively pulling your tongue away from the throat and the soft palate to open your airway. These dental appliances are:

  • Portable
  • Easy to care for
  • Comfortable to wear
  • Easy to insert and remove
  • Quiet and not disruptive to any bed partners (unlike some sleep apnea machines)
  • Convenient for travel

Why should you treat your sleep apnea?

It is important for you to have a deep, restful sleep in order to allow your body to recharge. When you suffer from a sleep disorder this can affect your overall health and increase your risk of medical disorders and diseases, and reduce your life’s quality and longevity.

Complications can include a wide range of conditions from metabolic syndrome and high blood sugar, which is linked to an increased risk of heart disease. You may also experience heart problems, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes and resistance to insulin. Because of your daytime fatigue, you may be at an increased risk of workplace or motor vehicle accidents.

Your dentist can help you protect your health by offering night mouthguards to help you manage the symptoms of this disorder.

To learn more about sleep apnea and treatment options that can help, contact the dentists at Scotia Square Dentistry.

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