Sleep apnea can seriously impact your health. There are various dental appliances available to help treat sleep apnea, and today the dentists from our five Downtown Toronto locations (College Park Dental, King-York Dental, Richmond-Adelaide Dental, Bay Adelaide Dental, and Brookfield Place Dental) explain the options.
Sleep apnea is characterized by abnormal pauses in breathing (apneas) or shallow breathing while an individual sleeps. These apneas can occur due to a physical blockage of airflow, a lack of respiratory effort, or in some cases both.
Causes of Sleep Apnea
When you enter into deep sleep, your throat tissues, soft palate and tongue relax. For patients who suffer from sleep apnea, the throat tissues and soft palate over-relax, causing them to collapse into the back of your throat, blocking the airway.
When the airway becomes blocked, the flow of oxygen ceases, and as a result your brain forces you to wake up slightly to consciously resume breathing. These episodes may happen hundreds of times a night, seriously disrupting your sleep.
Diagnosing Sleep Apnea & Snoring
The most common symptoms of sleep apnea include heavy snoring, headaches and migraines upon waking, restless sleep, excessive daytime fatigue, problems focusing, irritability, depression and TMJ symptoms. If you frequently experience any of these symptoms, you should visit a medical professional so you can receive a proper diagnosis.
Following a medical diagnosis by a qualified health professional, your dentists can begin to help you get a better night’s rest with a range of sleep apnea treatment options. We will complete a full examination of your teeth, tongue, airway and jaw, and potentially take an x-ray of your airway, to determine the right appliance for your needs.
Devices & Oral Appliances For Treating Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
Dental appliances work by positioning your lower jaw further forward, effectively pulling your tongue away from the throat and the soft palate to help open your airway. Dental appliances designed to help reduce sleep apnea symptoms are:
- Easy to care for
- Comfortable to wear
- Easy to insert and remove
- Quiet and not disruptive to any sleep partners (unlike some sleep apnea machines)
- Convenient for travel
The Importance of Treating Sleep Apnea
If you suffer from sleep apnea, you will be unable to fall into a deep, restorative sleep that recharges your brain and body. This can play a role in many medical disorders and diseases, and reduce your quality of life and your longevity.
Your dentist can help you to improve and protect your overall health and wellbeing by recommending the right oral device to help reduce your sleep apnea symptoms.