Are you constantly tired during the day, even if you go to bed at a reasonable hour? You may have sleep apnea. Dr. Scott Sutton and Dr. Shawn Monahan, your Tempe, Phoenix and Scottsdale, AZ dentists at Waterfront Dentistry, share some important information about this common condition.
What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?
Common symptoms of sleep apnea include:
- Gasping for breath during the night
- Feeling as if you're choking while you sleep
- Loud snoring
- Pauses in your breathing during the night
- Weight gain
- Fatigue during the day
- Morning headache
- Trouble concentrating or paying attention at work or school
- Depression or irritability
What happens at night?
When you fall asleep, every part of your body relaxes completely, including your throat and tongue. If you have sleep apnea, the tissues in your throat and your tongue fall into your airway, partially blocking. In some cases, the walls of your throat collapse and prevent air from reaching your lungs. If your airway becomes completely blocked, you'll suddenly gasp for air and waken briefly. Waking up allows your throat to regain normal muscle tone and allows you to breathe normally again. You may not be aware that you experience breathing pauses, although friends or family members may tell you that you do this. If the problem is severe, you may wake up numerous times throughout the night.
How can my Tempe, Phoenix and Scottsdale dentist help me?
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machines are usually recommended for people who have sleep apnea. The machines work by forcing a constant stream of air through the throat. Unfortunately, wearing the CPAP mask can be uncomfortable, and some users just can't adjust to them. Your dentist offers a much more comfortable oral appliance that prevents airway blockages. The custom-made appliance fits over your teeth and holds your jaw in a forward position. When your jaw is in this position, your airway remains open and your tongue can't fall into it.
Interested in learning more about oral appliances for sleep apnea? Call Drs. Sutton and Monahan, your Tempe, Phoenix and Scottsdale, AZ, dentists at Waterfront Dentistry, to schedule an appointment. Put an end to sleep apnea with an oral appliance.