How Do I Know If I Have Sleep Apnea?

If you have trouble sleeping and wonder if you have sleep apnea, check out this guide from Dental Care 4U in South Holland, IL.

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Obstructive sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder in which the tissues at the back of the throat block the airways.

The muscles in the back of the throat support the soft palate, the uvula (the small tissue flap that hangs from the soft palate), the tonsils, the side walls of the throat, and the tongue. When these muscles relax, the airway narrows or closes while you are inhaling, making it difficult to get enough air and potentially reducing the oxygen level in your blood.

Your brain senses this lack of oxygen and briefly wakes you up so you can reopen your airway. This awakening is usually so short that you don’t remember it. You may snort, choke, or gasp. This cycle can happen up to 30 times or more per hour, all night, making it hard to achieve deep and restful sleep.

These obstructions cause interruptions in breathing during the night, resulting in fatigue and drowsiness the next day. Not only does this condition rob people of a good night’s sleep, it unfortunately also puts them at risk for a variety of other health issues such as heart disease, depression, and elevated blood pressure.

What Are Symptoms Of Sleep Apnea?

Obstructive sleep apnea is typically characterized by loud snoring, episodes of stopped breathing while asleep (this would be observed by someone else), gasping for air while sleeping, awakening with a dry mouth, morning headaches, difficulty staying asleep (insomnia), excessive daytime sleepiness (hypersomnia), difficulty concentrating while awake, and irritability.

Who Is At Risk For Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea can occur in anyone of any age, but certain factors make the condition more common. Obstructive sleep apnea is more prevalent in certain situations and demographics; prior to age 50, it is generally more common in males. After age 50, however, the rate is similar for both genders. The likelihood of developing sleep apnea increases with age, and individuals with obesity or excess weight are especially susceptible. Additionally, people of Black, Hispanic, or Asian descent are more likely to develop the condition.

How Can Sleep Apnea Be Addressed By My Dentist?

While some specialists may recommend a positive airway pressure device or a CPAP machine to address sleep apnea, the truth of the matter is that these treatments are not always the best options for everyone. Some people with sleep apnea are not able to use CPAP machines. Surgery as a treatment option can be too invasive to consider.

Fortunately, the experts at Dental Care 4U in South Holland can provide patients with oral appliances to address sleep apnea. As a convenient option for treating sleep apnea, our practice can provide oral appliances to help you get a better night’s sleep. We offer multiple options for sleep apnea oral devices, including:

  • Mandibular Advancement Devices: These devices attach to the upper and lower teeth to move the jaw and tongue forward and can be customized to fit the patient’s teeth, reducing snoring and daytime sleepiness. 

  • Tongue-Stabilizing Devices: Tongue-stabilizing devices work to pull the tongue forward using suction and keep the tongue from blocking the airways.

  • Rapid Maxillary Expansion Devices: Rapid maxillary expansion devices are orthodontic devices that expand the roof of the mouth to open the airways. These involve wearing a custom-fitted expander to fit over the top back teeth and using pressure to correct arched palates in children.

Choose A Good Night’s Sleep With Dental Care 4U

If you’re ready for dentistry with a gentle touch at a practice that feels just like home, consider Dental Care 4U. Dr. Raj Khurana and the team have been operating Dental Care 4U for over 20 years, and are proud to offer the very best South Holland, IL and the surrounding communities. We always work with a gentle touch, so whether you need a root canal, tooth extraction, or orthodontic treatment, we will be here for you and your loved ones. Call us today at 708-333-2213 for an appointment.

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