Do you have trouble sleeping at night? Are you disturbed by snoring so loud that you wake yourself up or do you wake up gasping for air like you can’t breathe? If so, you might have sleep apnea. At least 15 million Americans of all types suffer from sleep apnea each year, many without even realizing it!
If you do have sleep apnea, your friendly Cedar Park dentist may be able to help. Here’s what you need to know.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a condition that is caused when the air passage at the back of a person’s throat becomes blocked as they try to sleep. This happens as the person’s muscles relax in sleep, causing the soft palate to relax as well. It slips back, and the airway narrows. In some cases, it may even close completely.
Sleep apnea has different levels of severity. Mild sleep apnea merely causes snoring, although the sort of heavy snoring that disturbs everyone around the sleeper. As the airway becomes tighter, it may cause the sleeper to almost wake up – but not quite, just enough to cause their throat muscles to re-form an airway. This causes the sleeper to have a fitful, restless night, and possibly not even realize they are sleeping badly.
In worst cases, the airway closes entirely, causing the sleeper to wake up while gasping for air fully. They may even have sensations of tightness in their chest or other feelings of being choked. This is, of course, extremely disruptive to the sleep cycle.
What Are the Dangers of Sleep Apnea?
Sleep deprivation is the most common side effect of sleep apnea, and more dangerous than many people realize. It leads to increased chances of heart disease and strokes. It can also cause numerous mental changes, including an inability to focus, short-term memory loss, irritability, and even major personality changes. We are finding that many traffic accidents are being caused by a lack of proper sleep!
Over the long term, this can significantly impact a person’s bodily health.
How Can a Cedar Park Dentist Help?
cause the conditions surrounding sleep apnea to occur in the mouth, dentists are often able to assist with the use of custom oral sleep appliances. These help keep the airway open or prevent the tongue from slipping backward. Often, all it takes is a custom piece of plastic or silicone to help a patient get a good night’s sleep!
If you think you have sleep apnea, contact Reveal Dental!