When you have obstructive sleep apnea, your breathing stops while you sleep. The pause in breathing can last from a few seconds to minutes until your brain wakes you just enough to take a breath. This can happen 30 times or more an hour.
Anyone can develop obstructive sleep apnea, even children, especially when they have enlarged tonsils. It’s essential to seek treatment because every time you stop breathing, no matter how briefly, it causes stress in your body.
When sleep apnea goes untreated, you’re at a higher risk for developing:
The challenge of sleep apnea is that most people don’t know they have the problem. Even though they come up out of a deep sleep to breathe, they seldom wake up enough to be aware it happened.
The primary symptom of sleep apnea is loud snoring, which occurs as air squeezes past the blockage. The first person to notice sleep apnea is usually a partner or family member who comments on your snoring. They may also notice that the snoring occasionally stops (when you stop breathing) and that you gasp or choke when you breathe again.
If you have sleep apnea, you may have a headache when you wake, feel fatigued during the day, and have a hard time concentrating. As soon as you’re aware you may have sleep apnea, contact your dentist at About Smiles to discuss your symptoms and treatment.
Sleep apnea may be treated with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), which is done using a machine that blows air into your throat through a mask that fits over your mouth and nose.
CPAP is effective, but only when it’s used, and most people stop using it because they find it uncomfortable.
The dentists at About Smiles offer an effective treatment option -- a mouthpiece, or oral appliance. Each mouthpiece is custom made so it fits comfortably over your teeth like a sports mouth guard. When it’s in place, it supports your jaw in a forward position, which keeps the airway open and prevents sleep apnea.
At About Smiles, we are in-network with most major insurance plans. Please contact our office if you do not see your insurance provider listed.
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