Sleep apnea is a condition that affects millions of people around the world. Many of them don’t even realize it. This disorder involves the obstruction of breathing passages during sleep.
While we’re awake, our conscious bodies carry a little bit of tension in our muscles and tissues. In minor amounts, this tension is a good thing. It keeps everything in place and working as it should be.
At night, all of this relaxes. Relaxation of the tissues combines with gravity to pull down on our now-horizontal airways. This pinches them tight, or closes them altogether. Our lungs try their best to get sufficient air, but when the passages are too small or closed, they can’t do anything.
Alarm signals ring up to the brain, the brain panics, and in order to get enough air, it wakes us up just for a microsecond. That sudden, brief moment of consciousness opens our airways, allowing us to breathe freely until the passages relax once more.
This process can repeat itself anywhere from a dozen to hundreds of times in a single night.
The Consequences of Sleep Apnea
These closed passages create a lot of vibration, as air tries to squeeze through them. This makes for very severe chronic snoring, and the potential for a dehydrated mouth and nasal passages.
Far worse than the sound pollution, however, is the fact that waking up so frequently will inevitably interrupt your sleep cycles. Without REM sleep, your body cannot fully rest. You’ll wake up in the morning thinking you got a full night’s sleep, without any of corresponding the benefits.
You’ll stop getting enough oxygen and enough sleep, which leaves you susceptible to a number of much more serious conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke.
Here at our dental office, we are unable to provide diagnosis for sleep apnea, but we will refer you to establishments that can.
Once you have been diagnosed, we’re able to construct a treatment plan to help you get the uninterrupted night’s sleep you need.
One of our best treatment options is the use of an oral appliance. Much like a TMJ mouthguard, this appliance will be custom-fitted to your mouth. While you wear it, your tongue and jaw are positioned in such a way that they cannot fall backward and close off those airways.
Come in For Your Consultation
If you suffer from chronic snoring and severe daytime exhaustion, sleep apnea may be worth looking into. If you call us today, we can answer all of your questions, refer you to a diagnosis specialist, or start work on a treatment plan that is just right for you.