You don’t need anyone to tell you that a good night’s sleep is important! Not only does it make a big difference during the following day, but it also plays a big role in our overall health. Sadly, many people are missing out on this healthy habit. Many times, the loss of good sleep is directly related to some type of sleep-related breathing disorder (SRBD). Sometimes it is connected to their own sleep, and other times it is connected to the sleep of family members.
What is a Sleep Disorder?
A sleep-related breathing disorder is identified by regular occurrences of restricted or interrupted flow of air while breathing. Soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses while the patient is sleeping and the windpipe is partially restricted. Snoring occurs when the soft tissue vibrates as the air passes through this restricted passageway.
When snoring gets loud enough, it can seriously disrupt the sleep of the others in the room and even in the house. While the snorer may seem to be sleeping, unaffected by the noise, this is often not the case. Chronic snoring is commonly associated with Obstructive Sleep Apnea. The word “apnea” actually means “without breath.” This occurs when the respiratory passage is blocked severely enough to cause a significant disruption in the airflow. Sometimes there is absolutely no airflow for ten seconds or more. When this airflow is restricted in this manner, it produces a dangerous reduction of oxygen levels in the blood flow.
People suffering with sleep apnea often wake 50 times or more each hour, and they will often wake with no memory of these sleep interruptions. The brief awakenings are only long enough for the body to adjust the flow of air through the airway so that it may continue breathing. The unfortunate fact is that these many interruptions to sleep virtually eliminate any deep or restful sleep that is so needed for alertness throughout the day and for good health in the long run.
Symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a condition that must be taken seriously due to the fact that it can lead to major heart issues and other health difficulties. Be on the lookout for symptoms such as:
- Regular or excessive irritability
- Excessive sleepiness or drowsiness during the day
- A regular struggle with poor memory or with confusion
- Night sweats
- Headaches in the morning
- High blood pressure
- A struggle with obesity
How We Can Help!
So what is the connection between sleep apnea and your dentist? Snoring and the underlying sleep apnea can often be treated by the use of an oral appliance. At Pure Smiles, we are able to offer our patients these oral appliances, which help hold the lower jaw in a good position to facilitate easy breathing during sleep. The repositioning of the jaw keeps the tongue from restricting airflow and it allows natural breathing. This treatment has a good history of success and is a great option to try before the use of more complex breathing devices or surgery.
Our dentists are trained to custom-diagnose and custom-fit these devices for your relief from sleep apnea. Please contact us about the possible use of Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT) if you or your loved ones are suffering from any of the symptoms mentioned above. If you live in the Cincinnati, OH area, get a good night’s rest by calling our office today to set up an appointment!