Sleep Apnea Appliances
Feeling out of breath or gasping for air during sleep, loud nightly snoring, and excessive daytime sleepiness are all warning signs of sleep apnea, a sleep disorder that can be extremely detrimental to a patient’s health and wellbeing. Apnea is a Greek word that literally translates to “without breath.” Patients who suffer from sleep apnea stop breathing for ten seconds or more while they sleep, and this can happen hundreds of times every night.
There are three types of sleep apnea: central, obstructive, and mixed. Central sleep apnea occurs when the brain does not signal the body to inhale during sleep. Obstructive sleep apnea, as the name implies, occurs when soft tissue in the throat relaxes, blocking the airway during sleep and preventing patients from breathing. Mixed sleep apnea is a combination of the two. If you or a loved one has experienced any of the symptoms we have listed above, be sure to contact Hillsview Dental Care today to schedule an appointment with our experienced doctors!
Risk Factors for and Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
Almost anyone can suffer from sleep apnea, but there are a few lifestyle and health factors that can drastically increase a patient’s risk for developing it, including:
- Being overweight
- Heart disease
- Smoking and drinking
- Family history of sleep apnea
- Those who are of African, Pacific Islander, or Mexican descent
- Being male
- Those over the age of 50
Even if none of these risk factors apply to you, you could still be suffering from sleep apnea. In many cases, sleep apnea goes undiagnosed or misdiagnosed for years due to the number and variety of possible symptoms. Some of the common warning signs include:
- Loud snoring
- Excessive daytime sleepiness, exhaustion, and fatigue regardless of sleep patterns
- Waking out of breath or gasping for air
- Dry mouth in the mornings
- Frequent morning headaches
- Poor memory, confusion, mood swings, and other behavior changes
There are a number of treatment options available for patients, but one of the best solutions may be a simple and comfortable oral appliance. Worn during sleep, these appliances gently shift the jaw forward, keeping the airway open during sleep.