The women and men who have sleep apnea usually aren’t aware of the problem. Their first clue comes when a partner or family member complains about their loud snoring. If you snore loudly, the doctors at the Dental Center of Tysons Corner encourage you to get an evaluation because untreated sleep apnea can cause serious health problems. To learn more about dental treatment for sleep apnea, call their office in McLean, Virginia, or use online booking to schedule an appointment.
Sleep apnea occurs when you temporarily stop breathing while you sleep. When that happens five or more times per hour, you have sleep apnea. In severe cases, you may stop breathing 30 or more times every hour.
When you sleep, your muscles relax, allowing your tongue and other soft tissues to fall toward the back of your throat and cover your airway. As a result, you stop breathing.
Every time you stop breathing, the oxygen levels in your blood decrease. This alerts your brain, which wakes you up enough to take a breath. You usually don’t reach full consciousness so you’re not aware you have the problem.
The symptoms of sleep apnea include:
The most common symptom is loud snoring; the louder you snore, the more likely it is that your snoring is a sign of sleep apnea.
Apnea constantly disrupts your sleep so you can’t get a good night’s rest.
You may also experience:
Every time you stop breathing, it causes stress inside your body. Untreated sleep apnea can lead to:
Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is often prescribed for moderate to severe cases of sleep apnea. When you use CPAP, you wear a mask attached to a machine that blows air, and the air creates just enough pressure to keep your airway open. CPAP is effective, but only if you wear it every night. That’s a problem because most people don’t stick with their CPAP treatment.
The doctors at The Dental Center of Tysons Corner offer another option — a custom-fitted dental appliance that you wear while you sleep. It fits like a mouthguard or like clear aligners, but it’s specially adjusted to hold your jaw and tongue in a forward position, so the tongue can’t block your airway.
When wearing a dental appliance was compared with CPAP, both treatments had the same effectiveness. If you have sleep apnea, call The Dental Center of Tysons Corner or book an appointment online to see if an oral appliance is right for you.