Did you know that your dentist doesn’t just treat your teeth, but sleep apnea as well? Dental sleep medicine focuses on oral appliances for treating Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). This condition is recognizable by the tissue in the back of an individual’s throat collapsing as they sleep, blocking the airways throughout the night. This is a serious condition that causes many short and long-term effects, so it’s important you schedule your appointment with Dr. Janet Kearns at Intown Dental Center in Atlanta, GA, right away. Here are several signs of sleep apnea and how you can manage this sleep dentistry condition.
Common sleep apnea signs
If you have sleep apnea, you may notice one or more of these signs:
- Frequent Snoring: Snoring, one of the most well-known signs of sleep apnea, occurs when your throat muscles vibrate when you sleep. If you have sleep apnea, your throat muscles relax and your airway becomes narrower when you sleep, which increases vibrations and worsens snoring.
- Gasping and Choking: Sleep apnea occurs when you stop breathing multiple times during the night, usually for a few seconds at a time. Gasping and choking serve an important purpose because it opens your airway and allows you to begin breathing again. Unfortunately, chronic oxygen deprivation can lead to strokes, high blood pressure, and type II diabetes.
- Fatigue: When your sleep is constantly interrupted, it's hard to feel rested and energetic. Fatigue can be a sign that you have sleep apnea.
- Difficulty Concentrating: In addition to fatigue, you may also notice that it's harder to concentrate. Difficulty concentrating can be particularly dangerous if your job involves operating heavy machinery or driving for hours at a time.
- Morning Headaches: Oxygen deprivation can also lead to morning headaches. Although the headaches usually go away an hour or two after you wake up, they can be a warning sign of sleep apnea.
- Irritability: Sleep deprivation can also affect your moods, leaving you feeling irritable and depressed.
How is sleep apnea treated?
Oral Appliance Therapy is the key to treatment and healthy life. Your dentist will give you an oral appliance that you’ll wear during the night. A mandibular repositioning device moves your jaw forward while you sleep to keep your airways open. Another option is tongue retaining devices that work by keeping your tongue in place so it can’t block your breathing.
Your dental team offers a low-tech solution for your sleep apnea. These dental sleep medicine treatments ensure that you and your spouse or significant other can sleep soundly once again. Are you interested in learning how sleep dentistry can help you beat sleep apnea? Call Dr. Janet Kearns at Intown Dental Center in Atlanta, GA, at (404) 889-8370.