Snoring and sleep apnea are similar, but they are not the same. Snoring is often a symptom of sleep apnea, a common sleep disorder, and can deprive you of necessary rest even when you believe you are sleeping soundly through the night. In fact, because snoring is characteristic of sleep apnea, the disorder can be confused with the annoyingly loud habit and is often misdiagnosed because of it. Today, we explain why you should visit your dentist if you believe that you may have sleep apnea so you can finally achieve the rest you deserve.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Though sleep apnea mainly affects your sleep, it can more accurately be described as a breathing disorder. The condition is marked by frequent pauses in your breathing caused by mouth and throat tissues compressing and blocking your airway. The pauses can last ten seconds or more and force your body to wake enough to start breathing again, typically before the interruption becomes severe enough to rile you into consciousness. These cycles can occur hundreds of times in a single night, preventing your mind and body from falling into a deep enough sleep to rejuvenate and leading to symptoms of sleep deprivation.
Breathing Easier So You Can Sleep Easier
Fortunately, there are a number of options for treating sleep apnea. A continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine, which utilizes air pressure to prevent your oral tissues from collapsing, is usually required for severe cases. Usually, however, you may be able to find your solution in a specially designed sleepguard, which is similar to a sports mouthguard and worn while you sleep. The device helps your jaw maintain a slightly forward position to keep oral tissues where they should be during the night.
Ask Your Dentist if You May Have Sleep Apnea
If you believe you are sleeping through the night, yet still experience symptoms of sleep deprivation (i.e., daytime drowsiness, irritability, difficulty concentrating, and fatigue), then ask your dentist if you might have sleep apnea. To learn more, schedule a consultation with Dr. Burds by calling Gateway Dental Group in Des Moines, IA, today at (515) 244-9565.