Eberhardt Dentistry

Dental Treatments for Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is one of the most common sleep disorders in the United States. More than 25 million adults experience sleep apnea annually, and the number is rising. It is a condition that causes you to stop breathing during sleep.

Sleep apnea can disturb your rest and make you sleep deprived. It also can have an impact on your overall health, leading to severe conditions in some cases. The dental team at Eberhardt Dentistry has treatments to help people with sleep apnea.

What Causes Sleep Apnea?

There are three types of sleep apnea. Most people have obstructive sleep apnea, which happens when the muscles that support your mouth, tongue, and throat relax. That causes your upper airway to narrow when you take a breath, lowering your oxygen level.

After you’ve stopped breathing, your brain sends off an alarm and wakes you. Once your brain rouses you, your airway reopens. This pattern can happen dozens of times in one night, disturbing your ability to reach deep sleep.

What Are Symptoms and Risk Factors of Sleep Apnea?

If you continuously feel weary after a night’s sleep or your partner complains that you snore too loudly, you might have obstructive sleep apnea. Your doctor might ask you to take part in a sleep study to diagnose the condition. The most common symptoms of sleep apnea include:

  • Repeated episodes of stopped breathing while sleeping
  • Loud snoring and gasping for breath
  • Morning headaches
  • Reduced attention span and daytime sleepiness
  • Irritability

Anyone can get sleep apnea, but many factors increase the risk for sleep apnea, including:

  • Obesity
  • Sex (men are three times as likely to have sleep apnea)
  • Age (people over 50 are most at risk)
  • Family history
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol or drug use
  • Nasal congestion
  • Asthma
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes

What Are Treatments for Sleep Apnea?

Behavioral changes—like losing weight, stopping smoking, or sleeping on your side—can treat most mild sleep apnea forms. If behavioral changes don’t work, your doctor might fit you with a CPAP—a device your wear over your mouth and nose that keeps your air passages open while you sleep. Doctors also have surgical treatments for more severe cases.

A field of dentistry known as dental sleep medicine focuses on treating sleep apnea and snoring. Dentists collaborate with other medical professionals to help treat the condition. At Eberhardt Dentistry, we will work with your doctor to treat your sleep apnea.

At our practice, we use oral appliance therapy to treat sleep apnea and snoring. A dentist will create a custom mouthguard that fits your mouth like a retainer and pushes your jaw forward as you sleep. This action keeps your muscles tightened and your upper airway open so you can breathe.

Treatment can help you improve your sleep and quality of life. Untreated sleep apnea can result in medical conditions, including heart attack, heart failure, and stroke. If you’re fearful that this might pertain to you, call Eberhardt Dentistry of Akron, OH, at 330-836-5585 for sleep apnea and snoring solutions.