Sleep apnea occurs when you stop breathing for brief periods of time while you are sleeping. Apnea can lead to numerous symptoms including persistent fatigue, flu-like symptoms, and even memory and mood issues. One way to treat apnea is with oral orthotics.
Treating Sleep Apnea with Orthotics
The most common cause of sleep apnea is a physical blockage of the airways. This can occur due to loose tissues in the soft palate or due to excess weight that leads to partial or even complete blockage. Blockage can also occur because the jaw is not in proper alignment, which allows the tissues near the back of the throat to constrict.
Orthotics can help by holding the airways open. They can move the jaw forward so the airways become clear, allowing you to breathe comfortably as you sleep. Apnea is reduced or eliminated, so you wake up feeling refreshed and rejuvenated instead of exhausted from fighting to breathe.
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
If you experience symptoms of apnea, you should consult with your dentist for a definitive diagnosis. After a diagnosis is made, you can proceed with treatment. Some symptoms of apnea include:
• Excessive, persistent snoring
• Awakening repeatedly during the night
• Inability to sleep
• Memory lapses
• Drastic mood changes
Apnea is usually diagnosed with a sleep study, during which you are observed while you sleep to determine if you are experiencing apnea. After apnea has been diagnosed, you and your doctor or dentist can determine the best course of treatment. This could involve use of orthotics or a CPAP machine that maintains a constant flow of air into your lungs. In severe cases, an oral surgeon might be necessary to restructure your air passages for a permanent solution.
Sleep apnea can have serious side effects. Those suffering from apnea are more likely to be involved in car accidents. It’s also possible to experience symptoms of depression due to apnea. In order to eliminate the sometimes severe side effects of apnea, it is important to get an accurate diagnosis and receive proper treatment as soon as possible. Call 817-552-3223 to schedule an appointment with the experienced oral surgery team at Surgical Arts today.