Sleep apnea is a breathing condition that affects millions of Americans, and countless others around the world. This disorder is characterized by repeated interruptions in breathing throughout the night.
The symptoms can be more than just grogginess; they can impact one’s overall well-being, leading to issues like dry mouth, morning headaches, irritability, and more. But at Fairchance Dental Arts, you can get the help you need to get good sleep again.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Among the various forms of sleep apnea, the most prevalent is obstructive sleep apnea. As the name suggests, it results from an obstruction in the airways, which could be due to factors like a relaxed palate, tongue movement, or jaw positioning during sleep.
What Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
During the day, breathing seems smooth and automatic. Our air passages stay open and strong, due to our consciousness and upright posture. At night, all this changes.
The moment we lie down, gravity takes over, everything relaxes, and our breathing in general becomes deeper. This can be a triple threat. Passages that are too relaxed will collapse in on themselves, effectively cutting off all breathing.
The lungs will do their best to get air, but sometimes they can’t do it alone. The brain, not having any other choice, will wake up the sleeper, who immediately starts breathing again. This only happens for a microsecond. Usually, it’s so quick that no one remembers waking up at all. Unfortunately, even a moment is enough to interrupt a sleep cycle.
To make matters worse, this can happen as many as hundreds of times in a single night. The next morning, the unsuspecting person will wake up thinking that they’ve had a complete night’s rest.
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea restricts airflow and prevents deep, restorative sleep. Natural body responses to perceived disturbances can manifest as chronic snoring, frequent restroom visits, or constant tossing and turning. This interrupted sleep cycle can lead to:
- Dry mouth upon waking
- Consistent morning headaches
- Altered sleep routines, such as insomnia or hypersomnia
- Persistent grogginess and fatigue
- Mood disorders
If these symptoms resonate with you, you might be among the many grappling with undiagnosed sleep apnea.
Snoring: More than Just a Sound
For most snorers, there isn’t much of a medical concern. Snoring can be caused by a tonsil infection or a swollen tongue. “Chronic snoring” is also possible if you have a crooked partition between the nostrils.
However, sometimes snoring is a sign of a bigger issue. One of the most common signs of obstructive sleep apnea is snoring. Snoring occurs when your breath vibrates these oral tissues and creates sound. If your snoring indicates sleep apnea, it can lead to more serious medical concerns than simply keeping other people awake.
Is There a Difference in the Snores?
If you have sleep apnea, your body has to compensate for a lack of oxygen unconsciously. Breathing harder is one of those means of compensation. Those with obstructive sleep apnea often have louder snoring because they breathe heavier, causing more intense vibrations in the mouth and throat, leading to more noise.
The Consequences of Sleep Apnea
One distinct side effect of sleep apnea is low oxygen. Without deep, uninhibited breathing, the blood isn’t able to get sufficient levels of oxygen to the body systems that need it. This, in turn, can lead to more severe conditions, such as increased blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease.
Extreme exhaustion also lowers the body’s immune response because it doesn’t have the energy to fight off developing illnesses. Sleep apnea can also cause memory problems, weight gain, headaches, and other serious health complications.
Dental Solutions for Sleep Apnea
Utilizing state-of-the-art dental technology, we design custom oral appliances to ensure your airways remain open while you sleep. These devices, or mouth guards, are sleek, efficient, low-maintenance, and portable.
Thankfully, addressing sleep apnea doesn’t always require invasive interventions like surgery or cumbersome machines.
Oral Appliance vs. CPAP Machine
At Fairchance Dental Arts, we recognize that each patient’s needs are unique. When it comes to treating sleep apnea, the Drs. Beam often recommend oral appliances as a preferred solution for various reasons including the patient’s comfort and convenience.
Understanding Oral Appliances
Oral appliances, custom-made to fit the patient, take inspiration from the designs of a mouth guard or an orthodontic retainer. Their primary function is to stabilize the tongue or adjust the jaw’s position, ensuring that the airway remains open and unobstructed during sleep.
Benefits of Oral Appliances:
- Comfort Tailored for You: The majority of our patients appreciate the comfort level oral appliances provide. Without the confines of a mask, users often feel more at ease, leading to a better night’s sleep.
- Travel-friendly Design: Due to their compact design, oral appliances are a convenient sleep apnea treatment option for those who travel frequently. No need to worry about bulky CPAP machinery or finding a power source.
- User-friendly: Oral appliances operate without electricity, offering a simple, fuss-free approach to managing sleep apnea. This straightforwardness can be particularly appealing to those who may feel overwhelmed by complex equipment.
While oral appliances offer many benefits, they might not be the ideal choice for individuals with very severe sleep apnea. Additionally, there might be a brief adjustment period when starting with an oral appliance as you become accustomed to sleeping with it in your mouth.
Although CPAP machines are highly effective, they come with some challenges. The masks can be uncomfortable (the last thing you want when trying to get a good night’s sleep). They’re bulky, noisy, and inconvenient. Many patients seek alternative treatments. Oral appliances often emerge as a favorite due to their simplicity, comfort, and ease of use.
Making the Right Choice
Choosing the best treatment for sleep apnea depends on individual needs and preferences. At Fairchance Dental Arts, our primary goal is to ensure that you receive care tailored to you. Drs. Megan and Caleb Beam are here to provide expert guidance, helping you navigate the options and select a solution that enhances your quality of sleep.
How Sleep Apnea Affects Your Health
Sleep apnea, as a sleep disorder, has significant implications for overall health. Here’s why it’s crucial to address this condition:
- Cardiovascular Problems: The frequent wake-sleep cycles can increase heart rate and blood pressure, placing strain on the cardiovascular system. This could heighten the risk of heart disease.
- Type 2 Diabetes: People with sleep apnea are more likely to develop insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
- Liver Problems: Those with sleep apnea may show signs of scarring (nonalcoholic fatty liver disease) on their liver.
- Compromised Immune System: Chronic sleep deprivation can reduce the body’s ability to fend off infections.
- Mental Health Issues: Sleep disturbances can lead to mood fluctuations, depression, and anxiety.
- Cognitive and Behavioral Impact: Chronic fatigue from sleep apnea can result in memory problems, concentration difficulties, and a decrease in alertness, leading to a higher risk of accidents.
Addressing sleep apnea isn’t merely about improving sleep quality but it is also pivotal for maintaining overall health and well-being.
Why Choose Fairchance Dental Arts for Your Treatment?
Turn to the Sleep Apnea experts at Fairchance Dental Arts for needed relief. We have over 10 combined years of experience studying and treating sleep-related breathing disorders in adults and children and have the latest technology to help us screen for and treat these conditions in our Fairchance area office.
Your journey to sound sleep is just an appointment away!
With our array of services, including airway dentistry, we aim to not only gift you a radiant smile but also ensure holistic oral health. There is an intricate link between oral health, sleep apnea, and whole-body health. Fairchance Dental Arts is here to guide our patients toward comprehensive wellness.
Book Your Consultation
Fairchance Dental Arts will always be your home for a beaming smile. Our office is committed to meeting each dental health goal our patients have. That includes improving your sleep schedule with our incredible airway orthodontic treatments!
To explore our snoring and sleep apnea treatment options, get in touch today. We offer both in-office and virtual consultations to cater to your needs.
I was very glad that I went to Fairchance Dental. They took me in right away. The staff was more than friendly. They listened to me. They took their time with me. I made an appointment not only for me but also for my husband. I was very glad I went. Dr. Caleb was very nice. Everyone was very nice.
– Paulette B.