A lot of people who snore chronically don’t realize that the problem they experience is more complex than just snoring. The noise can sometimes be a sign of a more serious problem such as sleep apnea, which can have a significant impact on your overall health and quality of life if not addressed promptly. Sleep apnea is a chronic condition that can have a lasting impact on your sleep and breathing patterns. Fortunately, it’s often a condition that your dentist can help you address in a comfortable manner, with the help of a custom-designed sleep appliance.
Does your snoring mean you have sleep apnea?
A chronic snoring habit is one of the more noticeable and frequent symptoms of having sleep apnea, which is why many patients can mistake their condition for nothing more than a snoring habit. Therefore, the first step to determining if you need sleep apnea treatment is to determine if your snoring is a symptom of it. If so, it means that your snoring is the result of an airway obstruction caused by throat or oral tissues, and is only a precursor to your airway becoming completely obstructed.
Determining if you have sleep apnea
If you have sleep apnea, then the problem is more concerning that the labored breathing that your snoring indicates. When your airway becomes completely obstructed, it forces you to stop breathing (and snoring) altogether for several moments. This cessation of your breathing interrupts your sleep cycle, causing your body to wake enough to clear the airway so it can receive oxygen again. Over time, the repeated interruptions can lead to symptoms of sleep deprivation, which are caused by your inability to reach deep levels of sleep every night.
Treating your sleep apnea comfortably
Treating sleep apnea can be different for everyone. In many cases, patients who are diagnosed with sleep apnea are also prescribed a continuous positive airway pressure (or CPAP) machine. The machine provides a gentle stream of air through a mask that you wear over your mouth and nose, and helps keep your airway clear while you sleep. However, your dentist may be able to help you treat sleep apnea more comfortably by providing a custom-designed sleep apnea appliance, instead. The appliance can support your lower jaw in a comfortable, slightly forward position, preventing the obstruction of your airway while you sleep.
Learn if you need help with sleep apnea
Dealing with sleep apnea can be easier with help from your dentist, and a custom-designed sleep appliance that helps you sleep and breathe easier. To learn more, schedule an appointment by calling Creekside Family Dental Care in Columbia, TN, today at (931) 388–3384.