You go to bed early every night and you seem to get a good night’s sleep, yet you are tired all the time. You might have a condition called “sleep apnea,” and it may not only leave you exhausted, it can also cause serious health issues if it is left untreated. The good news is that your dentist may be able to help!
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is caused by the soft tissue at the back of the throat blocking your airflow as you sleep. This means you aren’t getting enough oxygen, and the brain reacts to this by waking you up so that you start breathing right. You may only be awake for a few seconds as you start to breathe correctly and then fall back asleep, and you don’t even realize you were awake at all. The problem is that this can happen dozens of times in one night, making it difficult to get the deep sleep you need. Besides being tired the next day, you might also have headaches, a dry mouth in the morning, and be irritable.
Sleep apnea can lead to serious health problems if it isn’t treated. These can include heart disease, asthma, high blood pressure, diabetes, and weight gain.
How Is Sleep Apnea Treated?
You may know someone who uses a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine for their sleep apnea, as this is a very commonly used treatment. However, many patients find that CPAP machines aren’t worth the trouble – they involve a mask and tubes connected to a machine, which can make it difficult to wear comfortably.
Your dentist has a better option! Oral appliance therapy involves an oral appliance (much like the mouthguards that athletes wear) that repositions the jaw to open up your airway so that you get enough oxygen and you stop waking up constantly.
How are you sleeping lately? If you answered “not well,” you may have sleep apnea, but the staff at Pacific Northwest Smiles can help. Call the office in Mill Creek, Washington, for a sleep apnea consultation. Call 425-357-6400 to make an appointment today!