Snore Guards and Sleep Apnea

If you are affected by constant daytime fatigue, unexplained mood swings, or unexpected weight gain, you may be suffering from obstructive sleep apnea.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a chronic disorder characterized by shallow or interrupted breathing during sleep. These pauses can last from several seconds to minutes and can occur multiple times during the night – sometimes as much as 30 times an hour. Normal breathing starts up again with a loud snort or choking sound. This interruption moves a patient from deep to light sleep.

Types of Sleep Apnea

There are two types of sleep apnea: obstructive and central. Although the symptoms remain largely the same, the causes and treatments differ.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea is characterized by a blockage or collapse of the airway that interrupts breathing during sleep. This can be caused by an excess in tissue or an over-large tongue sliding back and forth during sleep and blocking the airways. The force of the air trying to get through causes exceptionally loud snoring. Of the two types of sleep apnea, obstructive sleep apnea is the more common condition.

Symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea can range from physical to emotional manifestations. Side effects include:

  • Snoring
  • Excessive fatigue
  • Dry mouth and throat
  • Headaches
  • Nightmares
  • Mood swings
  • Inability to focus
  • Poor memory
  • Weight gain
  • Depression

Due to the fact that these symptoms are also associated with several other conditions, obstructive sleep apnea often goes undiagnosed.

Central Sleep Apnea is less common. The problems are neural, not physical as in obstructive sleep apnea. The centers of the brain, which control breathing, fail to send the correct signals to the lungs and associated muscles, leading to interrupted breathing. This condition is often tied to certain medical conditions or medicines, although it may occur in conjunction with obstructive sleep apnea. Unlike obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea is not associated with loud snoring. Due to its complexities, central sleep apnea requires the attention of a specialist.

Long-Term Effects

In the long-term, a decreased intake of oxygen can increase your risk of high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, obesity, and diabetes. Because a lack of oxygen also affects cognitive ability, patients suffering from sleep apnea are much more likely to have driving or work-related accidents.

Treatments

There is no cure for sleep apnea. It is a lifelong condition that requires long-term care. However, there are several treatments available to alleviate its effects. The type of sleep apnea you suffer from and your medical needs will determine appropriate treatment.

Snore Guards

Snore Guards

When you suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, the soft tissues at the back of your mouth and throat will relax and droop when you sleep, blocking your airway. Putnam Dental Associates can create a custom snore guard specially designed to fit over your teeth on your lower jaw alone, or both dental arches. The appliance will gently shift your lower jaw forward to keep the airway open as you sleep.

This conservative, non-invasive treatment can not only help you sleep better, it can alleviate some of the symptoms described above. The team at Putnam Dental Associates provides top-of-the-line treatment to provide our patients with a better quality of life through exceptional dental care. Our team can perform maintenance on these devices to ensure they remain a good fit.

If you are experiencing symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea, contact our practice today to schedule an appointment to discuss your treatment options.