Do you experience headaches upon waking and have trouble shaking that sleepy feeling during the day? Maybe you doze off during meetings or while watching TV? You may suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, a potentially dangerous condition that diminishes restful slumber and may increase your risk of heart attack, stroke and other serious health complications. Your dentist may help you treat sleep apnea with non-surgical oral appliance therapy that alleviates this condition and lets you get the restorative sleep they need.
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea occurs when airflow repeatedly stops for periods of ten seconds or longer. The brain senses lack of oxygen and tells the body to breathe. People with sleep apnea may experience hundreds of these episodes each night and are most likely unaware that it’s happening.
What causes sleep apnea?
When you sleep, the muscles that control your tongue and throat relax. Tissues can sag and restrict airflow, which causes the apnea episode. Sleep apnea sufferers often snore as well, because tissues vibrate as air is forced through narrowed passageways.
Sleep Apnea Treatment
Sleep apnea and snoring could be treated with an easy-to-wear mouth guard (snore guard) that keeps the chin slightly forward to promote optimal airflow. There are a variety of mouth guards available on the market today, and your dentist can help you choose one that is most appropriate for you.