What Is Sleep Apnea?
East Wenatchee, WA
Many people believe sleep apnea is something doctors treat, but we can actually help with this condition, too. That is because there are several different types of sleep apnea. If you have central sleep apnea, your respiratory system actually stops because the brain fails to send the proper signals to the lungs. You will need a doctor to treat that type of sleep apnea. However, the team here at Johnson Family Dental has years of practice treating obstructive sleep apnea. This is the more common version of sleep apnea and occurs when something blocks your airway.
How Does Obstructive Sleep Apnea Affect Your Sleeping?
If you have obstructive sleep apnea, your airway becomes partially or even completely blocked by the muscles of the throat. These muscles relax too much, falling into the airway and blocking it. Your respiratory system then has to compensate for the lack of air by working harder and, in many cases, you actually wake up. Sometimes you do not become fully awake, but the brain is still jolted out of its normal sleep cycle. That is why people who suffer from sleep apnea are often very tired. They are waking up dozens, sometimes hundreds, of times during the night without realizing it.
What Are the Signs of Sleep Apnea?
In addition to feeling very tired all of the time, there are several other major signs that you are suffering from obstructive sleep apnea. One of the most common symptoms is loud snoring. You may also find yourself fully waking during the night. This is often accompanied by gasping for air, coughing, or choking. Your mouth may be dry, and you may experience some soreness in your throat. You will also experience symptoms of sleep deprivation, including difficulty concentrating, headache, and irritability.
How We Help With Sleep Apnea
We help patients dealing with obstructive sleep apnea through the use of an oral appliance. These appliances are worn at night and prevent your airway from being blocked. We will create a custom oral appliance that fits your mouth so it is comfortable to wear while you sleep. The type of device that is right for you depends on several factors. Some of our patients are in need of a device that moves your lower jaw forward slightly. Others may benefit from a tongue retainer that prevents your tongue from blocking the airway. It is also possible that you need a device that does both.
Who Should Seek Help for Sleep Apnea?
If you have been feeling very tired for more than a few days in a row and cannot pinpoint the reason, it could be sleep apnea. This condition can become serious, and while the risk of death is not high, sleep apnea does impact a number of other life-threatening conditions. For example, a lack of consistent sleep can raise your blood pressure, which can lead to a number of other conditions.
If you have not been sleeping well, it may be time to come in to discuss sleep apnea with us. Contact Johnson Family Dental at (509) 886-8833 to set up an appointment.