If you suffer from sleep apnea, you know it involves more than just a loud snore. While the American Sleep Apnea Association’s research indicates about 90 million people snore at night, only about 18 million of those suffer from sleep apnea, which is a serious sleep disorder with potentially deadly consequences.
What is Sleep Apnea?
While loud snoring can make it difficult for a partner to sleep, the stakes are a bit higher when sleep apnea is the root cause of noisy repose. Unlike the steady rumble of an average snore, sleep apnea causes sufferers to gasp, choke and experience legitimate struggles to breath throughout the night. In fact, “apnea” is defined as a temporary cessation of breathing. While the thought of simply not breathing for multiple and substantial periods of time is alarming, you probably aren’t even aware of the episodes when they’re happening.
The most noticeable complication for most people is typically deep fatigue, even if you think you’re getting a full night of sleep, because sleep cycles are constantly disrupted. As a result, you may find yourself feeling exhausted and irritable throughout the day. The Mayo Clinic even warns that people with sleep apnea are at a higher risk for traffic and occupational incidents. In severe and untreated cases, sleep apnea can quadruple the risk of death.
How is Sleep Apnea Treated?
Fortunately, there are oral appliances you can use to improve your sleeping situation. While some are cumbersome and can make things feel worse, this isn’t the case for all oral appliance therapy. Talk to your doctor about confirming a sleep apnea diagnosis with a sleep study, then look for a dentist with extensive experience treating sleep apnea.
Traditional treatment for sleep apnea can involve CPAP machines, surgical intervention and things like my functional therapy, which is a non-invasive and incredibly low-risk set of training exercises and other treatments designed to strengthen oropharyngeal muscles and repattern certain habits. Working to strengthen the muscles of your soft palate and tongue can even chance the way you speak, eat and swallow.
Dentists with specialized training in my functional therapy, cutting-edge sleep apparatus use and other sleep apnea treatments can be your best and most effective line of defense when it comes to loud, fitful and unfulfilling rest.
At Village Park Family, Orthodontics & Wellness Dentistry, we take care of more than just your teeth and gums. Through continuing education and specialized training programs, we’re able to provide our patients with real and practical solutions to serious conditions, like sleep apnea. If you have received a sleep apnea diagnosis, make an appointment with our expert care providers today to discuss your treatment options.