Your loud snoring may annoy your partner, but it could be a sign of something more serious than a lost night of sleep: obstructive sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a that causes you to stop breathing up to hundreds of times a night.
There are different types of sleep apnea, but obstructive sleep apnea is the most common. It’s caused by soft tissue collapsing at the back of the throat. Anyone can develop sleep apnea, but there are certain factors that may increase your risk.
If you’ve ever woken up with shortness of breath or have other sleep apnea symptoms, it’s time to call our office. Our sleep apnea dentists can create an oral appliance designed to hold your jaws in place while you sleep, keeping your upper airway clear.
Sleep Apnea Symptoms
Unsure if you or your partner suffer from sleep apnea? Here are some signs to look out for:
- Loud snoring
- Episodes where you stop breathing during sleep (witnessed by another person)
- Waking up suddenly with shortness of breath
- Waking up with dry mouth or sore throat
- Sleepiness during the day
- Difficulty paying attention
Risk Factors for Sleep Apnea
Although anyone can develop sleep apnea, can increase your risk. For example, being overweight is a typical risk factor for sleep apnea. Other risk factors include being white, male, and over 40 years old, as well as having a large neck, tonsils, and/or tongue.
However, risk factors are simply that: factors. You don’t have to fit any of the typical demographics to have sleep apnea. Our dentists will review your medical history for other risk factors, such as smoking or alcohol abuse.
If you suspect you or your partner has sleep apnea, schedule an appointment with our office as soon as possible. We’ll be able to recommend a sleep study to find out if you have sleep apnea. If you have the condition, the study will also show how many times you stop breathing a night and for how long. We want to understand the cause of your episodes so we can provide the correct sleep apnea treatment.
If you have obstructive sleep apnea, our dentists may recommend a special oral appliance. The sleep apnea device will hold your jaws in a fixed position while you sleep, keeping your upper airway clear.
Ultimately, one of the best things you can do is schedule a regular teeth cleaning every six months. Routine teeth cleanings give our dentists the opportunity to monitor your oral health and catch health issues early, including sleep issues like sleep apnea or teeth grinding. By diagnosing problems early, our dentists can either treat them completely or offer more affordable treatment options. Later diagnosis is a recipe for permanent oral health issues or more expensive treatments.
Get Treatment for Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Our Grand Rapids, MI, dentists are familiar with sleep apnea and can help you breathe more easily during the night with a custom-made oral appliance. For more information, call Precision Family Dental at (616) 949-1570, or contact us online to request an appointment.
This blog post has been updated.