- March 24, 2016
It’s happening again.
Your spouse is waking you up because your snoring is keeping him or her awake. You know it’s annoying, but you can’t help it.
Or can you?
You may be suffering from sleep apnea. If that’s the case, your treatment could be as close as a dentist’s office. For patients who live in or near Williamsburg, VA, this would be good reason to call Historic Triangle Dental Care.
Ask us about our snoring and sleep apnea solutions.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which a person stops breathing while he or she is asleep. These breathing stoppages can last up to 30 seconds at a time, and they can occur dozens of time every hour.
Sleep apnea’s effects last throughout the day. People with sleep apnea are more likely to suffer a variety of health issues, such as diabetes, depression, cardiovascular disease, and stroke. They also are more likely to be involved in automobile accidents than the general population.
Anyone can suffer from sleep apnea, but some groups are at higher risk than others. Some of those higher risk groups include:
- People who are overweight
- People who are over 40 years old
The National Sleep Foundation has estimated that 18 million Americans suffers from some form of sleep apnea, although a vast majority have never been diagnosed.
What Are The Symptoms Of Sleep Apnea?
If you know someone with sleep apnea — or you are someone with sleep apnea — then you probably are already aware of one of the most common symptoms, loud and persistent snoring.
Snoring has been estimated to be around 60 decibels, although some people’s snoring may be closer to 80 decibels. For comparison’s sake, vacuum cleaners have been measured at around 75 decibels and alarm clocks are around 80 decibels.
If you have sleep apnea, try to imagine what it would be like trying to sleep next to an alarm clock that went off several times every hour. This will give you an idea of what your spouse or partner is dealing with every night.
Besides snoring, here are some other common signs that you may have sleep apnea:
- Waking up frequently gasping for air
- Frequent daytime sleepiness
- Trouble concentrating
- Feelings of irritability
- Waking up often with a dry mouth or a sore throat
Your partner, spouse, or family member may be more aware of some of these problems than you are. Ask them if they have noticed any of these symptoms if you suspect that you may have sleep apnea.
How Is Sleep Apnea Diagnosed And Treated?
To confirm that you have sleep apnea, you will need to undergo a sleep study. Our own Dr. Whyte can help you set up a home sleep study if you have not yet be tested.
The most common type of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea. If you have this condition, the muscles around your airways will relax while you are asleep. This can cause the tissues around your airway to block it. This limits your ability to breathe.
If you stop breathing, you body will wake you up. Often, this is so brief that you have no memories that it has happened. This allows you to continue breathing, but it also interrupts your sleep cycle, which may prevent you from getting deep, healthy, quality sleep.
The most common treatment for sleep apnea is a CPAP machine. You may have seen pictures of these machines. The user will wear a mask over his or her mouth and nose or sometimes just the nose.
The machine pushes air into your airways. This keeps your airways open so you continue breathing even when you are asleep.
Some people find CPAP machines too difficult to use, or they just refuse to use one. In either case, they are not treating their sleep apnea.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine has approved oral appliances as an alternative to CPAP machines. At Historic Triangle Dental Care, we can make one of these appliances for you.
It is like a mouthguard, except you wear it at night while you sleep. The mouthguard changes the position of your jaw, which helps your airways stay open. This allows you to continue breathing.
You Deserve To Sleep Better
If you are tired of feeling tired, then call our dentist office in Williamsburg, VA, to schedule a consultation. We can help you get started with a sleep study to find out if you have sleep apnea.
If we can confirm your diagnosis, we can help you find a treatment so you (and your loved ones) can sleep easier at night. Get started by calling Historic Triangle Dental Care at 757-903-2527 or by filling out our online form.