Sleep apnea is a disorder that causes you to stop breathing when you sleep. This condition can affect your health, energy levels during the day, and the quality of sleep that you get at night. Sleep Apnea affects many people and is more common than you may assume.
The primary cause of this condition is an obstruction in the upper airway of the throat at the back of the tongue. In this part of the airway, there is also storage of fat. As you fall asleep, your throat muscles start to relax. The big throat tissues give in to gravity and obstruct this part of the airway.
When you sleep, the medulla oblongata in your brain stimulates your lungs to breathe on their own. As your lungs try to breathe in, the obstruction caused by your relaxing throat muscles and collapsing tissues then blocks the airflow.
Since no air is getting into your lungs, your oxygen saturation starts to drop. Your brain then receives a warning signal that awakens it just enough to control your neck muscles. The muscles in your throat tighten up and lift the obstruction, allowing you to breathe again. As your brain fall asleep again, the process repeats itself.
If you suffer from sleep apnea, your oxygen levels fluctuate as your throat muscles open and close your upper throat airway.
If you are overweight or have a large neck circumference, you’re not necessarily suffering from sleep apnea. If your energy levels are low during the day and you quickly fall asleep in, say, waiting rooms or while watching television, it may be because you have sleep apnea.
The first step in determining the presence of sleep apnea is with nocturnal oximetry. By wearing a device that measures your oxygen saturation, it is possible to see if your oxygen levels rise and fall while you sleep.
There are other ways to determine in, for example, a sleep lab if you have sleep apnea. If there are periods where you don’t inhale for longer than 10 seconds, some professionals may consider it to be enough evidence for the presence of sleep apnea.
Dental Treatment for Sleep Apnea
A dentist may be the most suitable practitioner to treat sleep apnea. Dentists specialize in health matters of your mouth, which is also the gateway to your airway and lungs. At Vellore Woods Dentistry, we provide information and all of your options prior to any treatment being done.
An effective way to treat sleep apnea is to prescribe an oral appliance that helps to keep your airway open, even if your throat muscles start to relax. A dental device pushes your lower jaw forward, and since the tongue is anchored to the lower jaw, it pulls the back of your tongue away from your airway.
Using a dental appliance works well for people who have moderate sleep apnea. This treatment also works well for patients whose sleep apnea worsen when they are in the supine position.
Another treatment option is called CPAP treatment, which is a mask that puts positive pressure on your airway to keep it open. There are different types of CPAP masks, including nasal, and full-face masks, as well as nasal pillows.
Snoring is a common problem that many people face on a nightly basis. Dr. Goodfellow has years of experience treating patients with sleep issues including snoring. Your individualized treatment assessment will include the best options for your needs. Snoring or sleep appliances can decrease and in some cases eliminate snoring and help you have a solid night’s sleep.
If you suffer from sleep apnea, the dental team at Vellore Woods Dental in Vaughan, serving the GTA can help. Contact us today to receive high-end sleep apnea treatment.