Getting enough quality sleep is one of the better things you can do for your health. Not only will it keep your body functioning in a healthy capacity, but it will also help you stay energized throughout the day. Yet, not everyone gets a good night’s sleep, and this is often due to a condition called sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea disrupts the quality of your sleep, leaving you groggy the next day and affecting both your mental and physical wellbeing over the long term. Fortunately, today, beneficial treatments are available, and some of those start right in your dentist’s office.
What Exactly is Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea, OSA, is a distinctive condition where an individual stops breathing at different intervals during the night. This halt in breathing is often the result of some type of airway blockage, which may be from the tongue slipping backward or soft tissues collapsing in the back of the throat. When such a blockage occurs, the body is deprived of oxygen, and this alerts the brain that something is wrong. In turn, the brain wakes you so that breathing can normally resume.
Many patients are not even aware that they experience sleep apnea but may have one or more of the following signs or symptoms.
- Dry mouth
- Loud snoring
- Snorting or choking sounds at night (when breathing restarts)
- A shortness of breath upon awakening
- Headaches first thing in the morning
- Feeling groggy or sluggish during the daytime
Treatments for Sleep Apnea
If you think you might be experiencing sleep apnea based on the signs and symptoms listed above or because your spouse or partner notices them occurring and tells you, it’s essential to know that treatments are available.
Before any treatment is applied, however, your doctor or a sleep specialist will need to make a diagnosis and determine how severe it is for you personally. Once this diagnosis is made, your dentist can often recommend the best treatment option available. These treatments involve oral appliance therapy and will be customized to each patient.
Oral appliance therapy begins with a review of the sleep apnea diagnosis and a thorough examination of your throat anatomy and oral health. If you are found to be a good candidate for this type of treatment, an oral device will be custom-fitted to meet your particular needs.
Oral device types will usually be one of these two types:
- Mandibular Advancement Device: This device resembles a mouthguard and slips over both the upper and lower rows of teeth. An attaching hinge keeps the two parts connected. Once placed inside the mouth, the tongue and lower jaw are slightly positioned forward so soft tissues located in the rear of the mouth can’t move in such a way as to block the airway while you sleep.
- Tongue-Retaining Mouthpiece: This mouthpiece fits around and over the tongue, holding it in place so it won’t slip backward and block the airway.
Understandably, it will take some time to get used to wearing the device and being able to fall asleep with it in position. Yet, once you do, you can get a better night’s sleep, be more rested upon awakening, and eventually feel more energized through the day. Many of the symptoms of sleep apnea, such as morning headaches, will disappear as well.
Why Treating Sleep Apnea Will Make You Feel More Energized
Leaving your sleep apnea untreated will limit your chances of entering a deep sleep, which is the stage that increases the body’s wellbeing. During this stage, your body focuses on several beneficial activities, including increasing blood flow to muscles, generating new cells, and restoring energy levels.
The longer sleep apnea continues, the longer your body perceives the loss of oxygen as a threat to survival. Being in survival mode then puts the brain on alert and uses up energy stores in the body, leaving you groggy and sluggish each day when you awake.
For these reasons, treating sleep apnea is essential to your health. It will also make you feel more energized overall because you will be able to reach that deep stage of the sleep cycle more often. This, in turn, will improve your mental and physical wellbeing and maintain energy levels more in line with normal life.
Ready to Find Out If Sleep Apnea Treatments Will Help You Feel More Energized? If So, Contact Lifetime Dental Health Today.
Sometimes all you need is a good night’s sleep to regain energy and go about your life. Yet, with sleep apnea, this is challenging night after night. If you or a loved one receives a diagnosis of sleep apnea, Lifetime Dental Health may be able to help you find a treatment that will make all the difference. Contact Dr. Richard Barry and his team today to schedule a consultation.