What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a relatively common breathing condition. Patients with sleep apnea repeatedly stop and start breathing during sleep. The difficulty breathing commonly comes from obstruction. Generally, this means that, when you sleep, the relaxed muscles of your throat collapse onto each other, closing off your throat temporarily. Don’t worry, you won’t suffocate – your body automatically forces you to take a breath before not breathing gets dangerous.
Anyone has the potential to develop sleep apnea. However, a number of factors can increase your risk or contribute to the severity of your condition:
- Use of sedatives, including alcohol
- Snoring, especially loudly or suddenly
- Gasping during sleep
- Dry morning mouth
- Daytime fatigue
None of these symptoms seem so bad on their own. However, one of the most basic problems of sleep apnea is poor sleep. A lack of sleep, particularly over a long period, can cause all sorts of problems beyond even basic fatigue. Sleep apnea, left untreated, can even increase your risk of heart attack or stroke.
Sleep Apnea Treatment
The dentists at Fuller Dental offer several treatment options for sleep apnea. The gold-standard of sleep apnea is a CPAP machine. CPAP, or Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machines use a mask and air pressure to keep your airway clear and breathing regular. There’s no denying that this method is effective. However, the mask can be uncomfortable, and the machine is noisy and inconvenient. Many patients struggle to keep up with their treatment.
Dr. Jamie Peterson, a member of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine favors a more conservative oral appliance method. The oral appliance is suitable for people with mild to moderate sleep apnea – in fact, only people with severe cases of this condition need to use a machine at all. The oral appliance fits like a sports mouthguard, and should hold your jaw in the proper position for easy breathing. This treatment is comfortable, convenient, and discreet, so most patients have no problem complying with its use.
Schedule a Consultation
If you are known for your snoring, you may want to consider the possibility that you have sleep apnea. Schedule a consultation today for a formal diagnosis of your condition and to discuss treatment options. Contact Fuller Dental online or at 336-226-0855 and schedule your appointment now.