Understanding Sleep Apnea
If you have sleep apnea, it means that you periodically stop breathing while asleep. Your brain then sends a signal to rouse you from sleep in order to restart your breathing. This can happen dozens or even hundreds of times each night. However, you likely don’t realize you’re waking up so much; you only know that you feel exhausted and sleep-deprived on a daily basis.
There are different types of sleep apnea, but the most common is obstructive sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea affects the muscles at the back of the throat, which normally support the soft palate and other nearby tissues. When these muscles relax, your airway closes, preventing you from breathing.
Could You Have Sleep Apnea Symptoms?
You might have obstructive sleep apnea without realizing it. The most common symptom is persistent daytime fatigue caused by sleep deprivation. This often goes hand-in-hand with related symptoms like irritability, poor concentration, and general moodiness. Other sleep apnea symptoms are as follows:
- Waking up with a dry mouth
- Morning headache
- Loud, persistent snoring
- Repeated episodes of ceasing breathing during sleep
- Gasping for air during sleep
These last three sleep apnea symptoms—snoring, gasping for air, and ceasing to breathe—may only be recognized by your sleep partner. If you sleep with a partner, you should ask them whether they have noticed these issues.
A Look at Traditional Sleep Apnea Machines
If your doctor diagnoses you with sleep apnea, you’ll likely be prescribed a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), or a sleep apnea machine. This machine consists of a face mask with an attached hose that leads to a machine placed near your bedside. The CPAP maintains positive pressure in your airway to prevent it from becoming blocked by your soft tissues.
Although there are multiple styles of masks to choose from, many patients find the machines to be cumbersome. They are noisy, which can make sleep difficult for both partners. Furthermore, the masks themselves can be uncomfortable to sleep with. Some patients also suffer from side effects of CPAP usage, such as stomach bloating and distension, and nasal passage dryness, bleeding, and congestion.
Our Cutting-Edge Sleep Apnea Treatment
The difficulty of using a CPAP may lead you to quit your treatment altogether. This can be dangerous, as it places you at risk of severe health complications like heart disease. Instead, consider our alternative sleep apnea treatment. Our dentists can fit you for a sleep apnea oral appliance, which you’ll wear in your mouth every night just like a mouthguard.
The oral appliance gently repositions your oral structures to keep your airway open without the need for a sleep apnea machine. As a result, you can look forward to more restful sleep and better overall health!
Contact Lakeside Dental in North Barrington, IL
If you’re ready to finally ditch the sleep apnea machine or you suspect you’ve been experiencing sleep apnea symptoms, you can find the help you need at Lakeside Dental. Dr. Janet Century, Dr. Karan Singla and our friendly team will conduct a thorough evaluation, explain the pros and cons of your treatment options, and help you make an informed decision for your health. Contact our dental office in North Barrington, IL today to request an appointment.