Are you feeling like you didn’t get enough sleep even though you logged a full eight hours or more? Struggling with daytime drowsiness? Has a sleeping partner alerted you to loud snoring? You may be suffering from sleep apnea and not even know it! This condition, in which patients stop breathing repeatedly for very brief periods during sleep, also appears to be associated with obesity, although this is not necessarily a sign of sleep apnea per se. The apneic periods occur when the soft tissues at the back of the throat collapse and cover up the airway opening, so excess tissue in the neck area increases this risk.
More subtle symptoms, such as frequent sore throats or headaches upon waking, may also indicate sleep apnea. If you are experiencing any symptoms of sleep apnea, you should complete a sleep study in order to confirm the diagnosis.
Sleep apnea can have serious consequences for your health in addition to limiting your quality of life. The condition appears to have some sort of relationship with issues like high blood pressure and stroke. Sleep apnea may even increase the likelihood of sudden death. Therefore, after you have a confirmed diagnosis, you should consult with a dentist to learn about your treatment options.
Rearward positioning of the jaw or tongue can contribute to sleep apnea, and given that a dentist has extensive expertise on the facial structures, this type of specialist is well qualified to treat the condition.
Patients may not need surgical intervention to treat the symptoms of sleep apnea. Many patients respond well to wearing an oral appliance during sleep to keep their jaw or tongue in a forward position. In other cases, however, surgery may be necessary to remove excess tissue at the rear of the throat or to correct jaw positioning.
Effective treatment for sleep apnea can literally be a life-saving intervention. If you suspect that you may have sleep apnea, contact our team at Lynn Dental Care today to learn more about how to confirm the diagnosis and get treatment.