When you have sleep apnea – a disorder that causes you to stop breathing in your sleep – one of the most obvious signs is a loud and distinct pattern of snoring. In fact, many patients mistake their sleep apnea for nothing more than a snoring habit, causing many of them to endure the condition for years before seeking appropriate treatment. However, the snoring that often marks the presence of sleep apnea is only one of several concerns linked to the condition. At our El Paso, TX, dental office, we may be able to help you address sleep apnea and its many potential symptoms comfortably with a custom-designed sleep appliance.
What having sleep apnea means
Sleep apnea occurs when certain mouth and throat tissues clog your airway as you sleep. The tissues may be overrelaxed and/or malformed, and as they collapse into your airway, the partial obstruction causes you to snore. The noise grows louder as the obstruction grows worse, until your airway becomes blocked completely and you can no longer breathe at all. It only takes a few moments for your body to wake up just enough to clear the airway, but you can lose precious amounts of oxygen as the cycle repeats itself throughout the night.
In case you miss the snoring
Besides affecting your oxygen intake, the interruptions caused by sleep apnea also disturb your sleep pattern, making it impossible to reach the deep levels of R.E.M. sleep that you need to rest properly. Over time, the effects of this sleep loss will grow increasingly more noticeable, and can include:
- Daytime fatigue and exhaustion
- Difficulty concentrating and/or remembering things
- Unusually high levels of irritability
- Increasingly more erratic swings
- Clumsiness; decreased hand-eye coordination
- A weaker immune system
- And more
How to address sleep apnea
After seeking a diagnosis for sleep apnea, many patients can alleviate the condition with the help of a custom-made sleep appliance. The oral appliance offers comfortable support for the lower jaw while you sleep, preventing the airway from becoming clogged by oral tissues. Though the appliance is similar to a sports mouthguard, it’s much smaller and more comfortable to allow for peaceful, restful sleep all night. In many cases, the oral appliance can serve as a more comfortable and manageable solution to sleep apnea than the customary CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine and mask that is often prescribed.
Stop worrying with a custom appliance
If you have sleep apnea, then the chronic, loud snoring associated with it is only one of the reasons why treating it matters. For more information, schedule an appointment by calling the Sunny Smiles dental office nearest you in El Paso, TX, today! We also have offices in Chaparral, Canutillo, and Vinton so we can easily serve patients throughout all surrounding communities.