Sleep apnea significantly affects how you breathe during sleep. Your breathing becomes extremely shallow during sleep — in short, you may experience breathing pauses or interruptions. These interruptions normally last for 10 to 20 seconds, and may occur more than a hundred times during sleep. This disturbs the natural rhythm of your slumber, which, in turn, causes you to feel more tired in the morning.
As the people behind TMJ & Sleep Therapy Centre of Northern Indiana explain, “Sleep apnea is a potentially life-threatening sleep disorder.” Seek medical attention if you or a loved one has this condition.
Is There a Treatment for Sleep Apnea?
Treatment of sleep apnea usually starts with healthy lifestyle changes. If these do not work, dentists or sleep specialists may consider other options, such as mouthpieces, oral appliances, breathing devices, and surgery. The main objective is to restore your normal breathing rhythm and alleviate symptoms, including sleepiness during the day and loud snoring.
Some treatment may likewise improve medical conditions related to sleep apnea. Lifestyle changes may help alleviate mild sleep apnea. If you have moderate or severe sleep apnea, dentists may recommend breathing devices or surgery.
Medical Treatment for Sleep Apnea
If mouthpieces and lifestyle changes fail to relieve you of your sleep apnea, consult with sleep specialists who can better assess your symptoms. They may recommend the suitable treatment plan for your condition. Medical treatments include the following:
- Identification and treatment of underlying medical issues that cause sleep apnea
- Use of supplemental oxygen during sleep
- Use of breathing devices to manage obstructive sleep apnea
Note that dentists and sleep specialists may prescribe medication for treating sleepiness related to sleep apnea, but not the condition itself. Patients should only take medications with other treatments for sleep apnea, as advised by the dentist.
Surgery for Sleep Apnea
Dentists may recommend surgery to relieve the airway and decrease the occurrence of breathing pauses. The surgery may involve the removal of adenoids, tonsils, or extra tissues inside the nose or the back portion of the throat. Some dentists may also recommend reconstruction of the jaw to increase the size of your upper airway.
Do not let another night go by without consulting your dentist about sleep apnea. It’s better to treat the condition now than wait for the consequences later.