Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a common and treatable condition that affects millions of people.

While the snoring and restless nights might seem like minor inconveniences, their effects can still impact both your physical and dental health.

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What Is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a disorder that occurs when a person’s breathing is interrupted while they sleep. It involves the frequent collapsing of the back of a person’s throat, causing snoring and inconsistent, disrupted breathing during the night. The disruption not only interferes with your breathing and your quality of sleep, but also leads to less oxygen being delivered to the brain and vital organs.

Even mild cases can have a number of negative consequences. Due to the brain being deprived of oxygen, those affected often wake up during the night (even without realizing it), sometimes hundreds of times. These short interruptions in sleep might only last seconds, but they disrupt the sleep cycle, causing fatigue, grogginess, and even depression.

Causes of Sleep Apnea

While there are many potential factors for what causes sleep apnea, or worsens it, these are considered the most common:

  • Family History
  • Neck and Airway Circumference
  • Weight
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol and Drug Use
  • Nasal Congestion

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

Since it can be tough to identify an issue that occurs when you’re not conscious, here are the most common symptoms of sleep apnea to look out for:

  • Insomnia
  • Waking with a dry mouth or sore throat
  • Loud snoring
  • Interrupted breathing
  • Morning headache
  • Waking abruptly
  • Irritability, anxiety, or depression
  • Feeling tired during the day

My Family Dentistry’s Sleep Apnea Solution

When we think of sleep apnea devices, many might picture face masks, tubes, and loud air pressurizers. However, by getting the exact measurements of your mouth and teeth, dentists are able to provide silent, comfortable devices that increase the airflow one receives while sleeping.

These mouthpieces, which fit around the teeth, work either by keeping the tongue from blocking the airway or by changing the position of the jaw. For example, My Family Dentistry offers the Dental Crafters’ Intraoral Snoring Therapy (IST) Appliance: a custom-fitted, acrylic mouthpiece that pushes the jaw forward and keeps the airways open. Similar appliances are sold over-the-counter, but these one-size-fits-all devices can cause a great deal of discomfort with less consistent results.

While regular sleep apnea appliances are a very popular option, some people are simply unable to tolerate having a mask over their face all night long. We offer oral appliance therapy, which is less bulky and typically a lot more widely accepted by patients. All of the appliances we use to treat sleep apnea are FDA-approved, but they are not an over-the-counter “quick fix.” Each appliance is custom-fabricated to each patient’s specific needs. We then follow up throughout treatment to get them adjusted to the most comfortable and effective point.

After a quick, simple fitting, these custom mouthpieces prevent snoring, teeth grinding, and sleepless nights. If you or a loved one suffer from sleep apnea, consider a consultation with My Family Dentistry.

Sleep Apnea Resources

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