Obstructive sleep apnea is a potentially serious condition that occurs when the throat muscles relax. During the relaxation, the muscles push down on the windpipe, causing an individual to stop breathing. This leads to trouble getting a full night’s rest, overall discomfort, and even injury or death in serious cases.
Thankfully for those who suffer from it, obstructive sleep apnea is treatable. Once an individual has been diagnosed by a medical physician, they can visit a qualified dentist for assistance with treating the condition.
What Can a Dentist Do?
Because dentists are experts of the mouth, they have training with the jaws and teeth alignment. The best way a dentist can help is through oral appliance therapy. During this type of treatment, patients have x-rays taken and a mold made of their mouth to create an oral appliance. This appliance is similar to a mouthguard and is made of synthetic material.
The appliance is worn when the patient goes to bed. Once in place, it adjusts the alignment of the jaws so the throat muscles are less likely to relax and therefore won’t obstruct a patient’s breathing. In more serious cases, surgery on the jaws might be necessary to correct a severe misalignment.
What Are the Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?
Before seeking treatment from a dentist like the ones at Bonita Dental Care, it’s important to make sure you suffer from obstructive sleep apnea. You need to be diagnosed by a professional physician, but there are numerous signs and symptoms that indicate an underlying problem. In particular, people with obstructive sleep apnea are likely to experience:
- Drowsiness and irritability during the day
- Periods where they stop breathing in their sleep
- Headaches in the morning
- Dry mouth in the morning
- Abrupt awakening with coughing or choking
- High blood pressure
- Decreased libido
- Weight gain
Some of these symptoms are easier to identify than others. Anyone who experiences several of these symptoms should seek help immediately to experience safe, restful slumber.