Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that affects a great number of people. According to the Lung Association of Canada, 26% of adults have a high risk of having or developing sleep apnea and 2 – 3% of children are likely to have sleep apnea.
Left untreated, sleep apnea can result in dangerous daytime sleepiness, and has been linked to high blood pressure, heart attacks, stroke and recently has been implicated in connection with periodontal disease.
We’ve all heard of sleep apnea, which refers to pauses of 10 to 30 seconds in breathing during sleep which disturbs the sleep cycle, and fear this sleep disease that seems both hard to identify and treat. The question is, can your dentist help you treat sleep apnea?
Using dental appliances to treat sleep apnea
Our dentists at Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group are trained in using dental appliances to treat sleep apnea. This scientifically proven solution makes sense if you understand how sleep apnea occurs.
Obstructive sleep apnea is caused by airway blockage when the soft tissue in the rear of the throat relaxes and collapses during sleep. Dental appliances are simply designed to change the jaw and tongue position to reduce or prevent the blockage of the airway. Worn during sleep, dental apnea devices treat sleep apnea by holding the tongue and jaw in a forward position.
There are many different types of dental apnea appliances for sleep apnea available. We invite you to consult with your dentist at Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group in regard to the ideal type of apnea sleep treatment for you.
Symptoms of sleep apnea
If you are suffering from some of the following symptoms and feel that sleep apnea may be the cause, please contact our Downtown Nanaimo Dental office to arrange a consultation.
The two main symptoms of sleep apnea to be aware of are: excessive daytime sleepiness that cannot be explained; and snoring with gaps or delays in breathing
Other frequent symptoms that may accompany the above include: fatigue; depression; lack of concentration; high blood pressure; irritability; gasping or choking during sleep; morning headaches; memory loss; and impotence.
Can snoring also be treated with a dental appliance?
Like sleep apnea, snoring is caused by a reduced flow of air while sleeping. The difference is that in the case of sleep apnea, breathing temporarily stops for a period of time. Read more about what causes snoring and modern dental solutions to snoring in an article written by Dr. Larry Hill, retired dentist from Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group.
If snoring is an issue for you or your spouse or family member, a sleep specialist must first test to determine if the case involves sleep apnea. If the problem is determined to be snoring, a dental appliance can be used to keep the jaw forward and reduce the partially blocked airway that makes the sound of snoring.
How can I get started?
Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group in Nanaimo, BC, is proud to offer dental appliances to treat sleep apnea and snoring and welcomes you to make an appointment for a consultation today. We look forward to serving you soon!