Sleep apnea is a breathing condition that affects our sleep. It happens when the muscles in the throat relax to the point that they block the airway. When the airway is blocked, there is a twenty-to-thirty second duration in which the person is no longer breathing. And when a person stops breathing, the brain sends panicked messages to the rest of the body to breathe. This panic comes as a jolt to the system, briefly awakening the person. These brief awakenings, most which are so brief that a person will not remember them the next morning, can happen up to thirty times an hour, even maybe more, and last all through the night.
What does Sleep Apnea have to do with Dental Health?
Sleep Apnea is a condition involving the muscles and tissues in the throat and mouth. It could be the product of enlarged tonsils (this is a common condition especially in children with tonsils, and, usually, the removal of tonsils is enough to treat it), a small jaw, or even a higher-than-normal palate. You may be able to treat the condition with an oral appliance that provides support to the structures in the mouth, preventing them from collapsing when your body relaxes during sleep. If a dental appliance doesn’t work, other treatments could include the recommended use of a CPAP machine; a machine that regulates your breathing while you sleep.
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
There are many symptoms of the condition including: an inability to focus, to remain alert throughout the day, waking up in the night feeling short of breath, you may have a dry mouth or a sore throat in the morning (also the cause of excessive snoring), or you may even get headaches throughout the morning. While the symptoms of sleep apnea may not sound severe, the pervasiveness of these symptoms can lead to much worse conditions such as: hypertension, stroke, depression, ADHD, diabetes, and even heart attack.
If you believe that you’re suffering the condition of sleep apnea, it may be time to get help. Remember, this is a chronic condition that could lead to more intensive problems. But there is treatment.
Call today to schedule an appointment today with your Periodontal Specialist!