Sleep Apnea - What It Is & Treatment Options

When we are sleeping our bodies are hard at work repairing, which is why getting a good night's sleep is so important. If you suffer from sleep apnea this could interfere with your rest, luckily there are solutions to help relieve the symptoms of sleep apnea. Here, our Selkirk dentists explain what sleep apnea is and how they can help with treatment options. 

What exactly is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is characterized by abnormal breathing pauses (apneas) or shallow breathing during sleep. These apneas can happen because of a physical blockage to airflow, a lack of respiratory effort, or both. 

What are the potential causes of sleep apnea?

When you fall into a deep sleep, your tongue, soft palate, and throat tissues relax. For those with sleep apnea, the tongue, soft palate, and throat tissues actually over-relax, causing them to collapse into the back of the throat and block your airway. When the flow of oxygen stops, the brain forces you to wake up to consciously resume breathing. These mini-episodes can occur hundreds of times a night. 

How will I know that I am experiencing sleep apnea?

There are a number of symptoms of sleep apnea including trouble focusing, heavy snoring, headaches and migraines, fatigue, restless sleep, depression, irritability, and TMJ symptoms. If you experience any of these symptoms you should undergo an assessment by a medical professional to receive a proper diagnosis. 

If your dentist determines that you have symptoms of sleep apnea, your dentist may recommend that you complete an evaluation with a sleep specialist or a visit with your doctor to determine the next steps for diagnosing sleep apnea.

What are the treatment options for sleep apnea?

While sleep is incredibly important to our overall health there is a large number of people that do not get enough sleep. A prolonged lack of sleep can lead to some major health problems like diabetes, heart disease, depression, and obesity. A major cause of poor sleep is sleep apnea, which is when breathing stops and starts during sleep.

Once you've been diagnosed by a medical professional, your dentists may be able to help you achieve a better night’s sleep with a variety of treatment options.

Oral appliances can help by positioning your lower jaw further forward to pull your tongue away from the throat and the soft palate, to open your airway. Lifestyle solutions, such as weight loss, exercise, and side-sleeping can also help you achieve better breathing and more restful sleep. Your dentist can help you find the right treatment option for you.

Why is the treatment of sleep apnea necessary?

Sleep apnea prevents you from falling into the restorative deep sleep you need to recharge your brain and body. This can contribute to many medical disorders, and reduce the quality and longevity of your life.

By treating sleep apnea, your dentist can help you improve and protect your overall health and well-being. 

If you would like to learn more about sleep apnea or other conditions that may be causing you issues, contact the dentists at Interlake Dental Centre.

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