Sleep is vital to good health, but for many it is hard to get quality rest at night. This is due to a condition known as sleep apnea which prevents the body from getting the rest it needs. For people with chronic sleep apnea, life is characterized by fatigue, drowsiness, irritability, and difficulty focusing, among other symptoms. Apnea can also lead to other significant health risks, so it is important to get it treated. Fortunately, Dr. Lynn at Lynn Dental Care can help treat some of the contributing causes of sleep apnea.
Causes and Effects of Sleep Apnea
There are two primary types of sleep apnea:
- Central sleep apnea: This occurs when the brain fails to send signals to the body to breathe. Fortunately, it is very rare, and it is often tied to other conditions which, if treated, may help clear it up.
- Obstructive sleep apnea: This is caused not by the brain, but by some obstruction in the nose, mouth, or throat. This can result from excess weight around the neck, congestion, inflammation, enlarged tonsils, and other issues. Obstructive sleep apnea is usually accompanied by heavy snoring.
Regardless of the precise cause, sleep apnea has one primary effect: it limits your body’s intake of oxygen. This lowers your blood oxygen level, which can have adverse effects on your health. In addition, your brain, detecting a lack of oxygen in the blood, will panic your body into partial or complete wakefulness, interrupting sleep and often preventing you from getting into deeper sleep cycles. A lack of deep sleep has the following effects:
- The brain does not get a chance to assimilate information, inhibiting learning.
- Your body doesn’t rest and repair itself the way it needs to.
- You feel tired and irritable throughout the day.
The repeated lack of oxygen can also lead to other health problems, such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and obesity, to name a few.
In some cases, obstructive sleep apnea can be treated by losing weight, sleeping on your side rather than your back, and avoiding alcohol. If these do not work, other treatments may be necessary. Often, this is done with a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) mask, but many have a hard time using one.
Mild to moderate apnea can often be treated with a simple oral appliance. Fitted for the patient’s mouth, this appliance prevents the mouth from effectually collapsing in on itself while lying down. One such appliance, the SUAD Ultra Elite Device offered at Lynn Dental Care, holds the jaw forward, allowing muscles to relax out of the way of the windpipe. The device is comfortable to use and often highly effective.
Fitting the device is simple with digital imaging technology, which allows your dentist to mold the device without having to use uncomfortable impression material.
If you are concerned that your snoring is an indicator of obstructive sleep apnea, contact Lynn Dental Care for a consultation. By utilizing the latest technologies to provide comfortable treatment, Dr. Lynn can help you overcome your sleep apnea.