Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the muscles in the back of the throat relax too much during sleep and block the airway. When this happens, the patient has to wake up just enough to continue breathing again. Most people do not remember these episodes, but waking up many times throughout the night leads to a very poor quality of sleep, which can lead to a variety of other symptoms, like headaches, brain fog, and irritability.
Chronic Fatigue, Dry Throat, Headaches
Many patients think that their chronic fatigue comes from simply not getting enough sleep, when in reality their REM cycle is being disrupted, and they are not getting enough deep sleep. At best, sleep apnea only leads to mild daytime sleepiness or a dry throat and headaches in the morning. In serious cases, however, sleep apnea can be fatal, which is why it is important to seek treatment. If you believe you may have sleep apnea, scheduling a sleep study is an important first step to see how long you stop breathing and how often.
Sleep Apnea Treatments
There are a few ways sleep apnea can be treated. Some patients opt for CPAP machines, which require the patient to wear a comfortable face mask that administers a steady stream of air, so the patient is receiving oxygen throughout the night regardless of how relaxed their throat muscles are. There are also surgeries that can be performed to reduce or eliminate sleep apnea, although many patients usually reserve invasive treatments like surgery as a last resort.
Custom Sleep Apnea Appliances
Using a custom oral appliance for sleep apnea created by an experienced dentist is a great way to get a restful night of sleep. These oral appliances are much smaller than CPAP machines, do not require distilled water or electricity to operate, and are very easy to travel with. These oral appliances hold the jaw in a comfortable position that keeps the airway open throughout the night so that it remains unobstructed.
When a patient decides to treat their sleep apnea using an oral appliance, dental impressions need to be taken so that their night guard for sleep apnea can be custom-made just for them. Then, a quick follow-up visit is scheduled so that the patient can try on their night guard, any necessary adjustments can be made, and the patient can take it home and begin wearing it.
Sleep Apnea Relief at Jackson Smiles Family Dentistry
If you’re tired of feeling exhausted and want to improve your health and overall quality of life, we recommend scheduling a sleep apnea consultation with our team. Dr. Patel would be happy to help you get back to sleeping well and feeling great again.
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