You always hear about the importance of getting a good night’s rest. However, do you know why it’s so important? Sleep is essential for your body to rest and repair. For many people, that quality sleep seems elusive. If you are one of the millions of Americans who wake up morning after morning feeling exhausted, even though you went to bed at a decent time the night before (and thought you slept the whole night through), you may be experiencing a condition known as sleep apnea. This common sleep disorder can have a serious impact on your mental, emotional and physical well-being. National Dental Melville is here to help.
What is Sleep Apnea?
A lot happens when you sleep. Your body goes through several cycles, which allows your body to get the rest it needs while repairing itself. Sleep apnea interferes with these normal cycles, which then affects the quality of your sleep. With sleep apnea, you stop breathing for several seconds several times during the night. In some instances, your breathing may be stopped for up to 90 seconds. Every time you stop breathing (an apneic event), you wake up. In most cases, you are completely unaware of these awakenings. Sleep apnea can range from mild, which involves 5 to 14 apneic events per sleeping hour, to severe, which is when you experience over 30 apneic events per sleeping hour.
There are three different types of sleep apnea:
- Obstructive sleep apnea: With this type of sleep apnea, your airway becomes blocked by either your tongue or other oral tissues.
- Central sleep apnea: Your brain does not communicate with the muscles that control breathing.
- Complex (mixed) sleep apnea: This is a combination of obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea.
What are the Symptoms?
There are several symptoms that can signify sleep apnea:
- Feeling excessively tired throughout the day.
- Falling asleep doing different tasks throughout the day (even while driving).
- Having a hard time concentrating or focusing.
- Feeling irritable or being unable to control your emotions.
- High blood pressure.
How is Sleep Apnea Diagnosed?
Before you can receive treatment for sleep apnea, it needs to be diagnosed. Diagnosis must be made by a sleep specialist through a sleep study. At National Dental, we work with a wide network of highly trained sleep experts who will not only diagnose (or rule out) sleep apnea but will also help to manage your treatments.
How Can We Help?
Typically, sleep apnea is treated with a C-PAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine. A mask is placed over your nose while you sleep, and the machine is turned on. However, not all patients respond well to a C-PAP, and some simply don’t want to use it. If you have mild to moderate sleep apnea, we can offer you an alternative. We can provide you with a custom fit oral appliance, which is similar to a mouth guard, that fits over your top teeth and helps to hold your jaw in proper alignment. With your jaw in proper position, this prevents your tongue and other oral tissues from sliding back and blocking your airway, allowing you to get the sleep you need. >> Learn more about oral appliance therapy and how it can work for you!
Quality sleep is not out of reach. If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, call National Dental’s Sleep Department today at (516) 208-4276 and find out how we can help!