If you’ve ever been elbowed in the ribs while you were sleeping you’re probably aware of something: you’re a snorer. We all snore from time to time – it’s perfectly natural and is just a part of life! The difference between snoring once in a while and being a chronic snorer can be huge – it can even be the sign of something seriously wrong!
Chronic snoring that’s also excessively loud is a sign of sleep apnea. This serious condition is also linked to a number of health problems that can shorten your life expectancy, make sleeping more difficult, and lead to pain and fatigue during the day. If you or someone you love is a loud, constant snorer they should have it checked out at Edgewood Dental Care!
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Your throat is comprised of soft tissues like cartilage and muscle. When you fall asleep all of that tissue relaxes. If you sleep on your back your jaw can fall backwards as well, and all of these things combine to obstruct your airway. When it’s partially obstructed you snore and when it becomes fully obstructed breathing stops completely. Those interruptions in breathing are called apneas, which is where sleep apnea gets its name from.
An apnea generally lasts only a few seconds – your body will try to get you breathing again – but that doesn’t mean they aren’t dangerous. If left untreated sleep apnea can lead to increased risks of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, and coronary artery disease. That’s not even a complete list of the complications that come with sleep apnea – it will also affect your day to day life by disturbing your sleep, causing headaches, making you tired during the day, and affecting your mood!
While sleep apnea can affect anyone there are a number of risk factors that will make you more prone to suffering from it. Patients who smoke, drink, are overweight, have large necks, or have sinus problems are all at increased risk for sleep apnea. If you snore it’s definitely worth investigating your health to find out if you’re at risk – sleep apnea is a dangerous condition that needs to be treated promptly. Fortunately we have multiple forms of sleep apnea treatment available at our Edgewood dentist office!
Treating Sleep Apnea
Depending on the severity of your sleep apnea and the prevalence of various risk factors there are multiple treatment options we can offer. We always like to start on the conservative side of things – once we have a full medical history and X-rays to rule out immediate causes we’ll perform a sleep study to get all the details we need about your nightly habits.
We offer at-home sleep tests using Sleep Optima, a small device that you wear while you sleep. It is mailed directly to your home, you send it back to the company once your test is complete, and we get all the data we need to make a diagnosis.
Treating sleep apnea starts with simple lifestyle modifications. You may need to lose weight, quit smoking, cut back on alcohol consumption, or simply sleep in a different position to relieve your sleep apnea symptoms. If those modifications don’t work we can also offer sleep apnea devices to help relieve your symptoms.
The first line of sleep apnea appliances we use are simple mouthguards. These custom devices are made from an impression of your mouth and hold your jaw comfortably in place. They prevent your mouth from falling open while you sleep, preventing snoring and airway blockage.
If our sleep apnea devices don’t work we can also offer CPAP, or continuous positive airway pressure, treatment. CPAP machines treat sleep apnea by forcing a constant pressure on your airway that keeps it open while you sleep. These sleep apnea machines involve wearing a mask that attaches to a bedside device. Many patients find them difficult to adjust to but the are the most reliable and proven method of treating sleep apnea.
You Can’t Wait For Treatment
Sleep apnea is serious. The longer you wait the worse your condition can become so it’s important to get it treated now! It’s difficult to eliminate sleep apnea but relieving the symptoms and improving your quality of life is something that we can do in little to no time at our Edgewood dentist office!
Don’t wait for snoring to go away – be safe and get checked out today! Call Edgewood Dental Care at 859-474-7830 or request an appointment by filling out our online form. We look forward to seeing you soon!