What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

Team Sleep Apnea

Quality sleep is crucial for a healthy life. During the deepest moments of sleep, the body begins to care for and restore itself. When you can't get this sleep, your overall health and wellbeing become impacted. 

Sleep apnea is a rather serious sleep disorder because it means your breathing stops and starts during sleep. And while it may be caused due to many different things, obstructive sleep apnea is referred to as such because it occurs when the throat muscles relax and block (obstruct) your airway. 

Signs and Symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea

One of the most common signs of obstructive sleep apnea is snoring. Though, it is important to note that not all snorers suffer from this condition. A few of the most common signs and symptoms are: 

  • Extreme fatigue and drowsiness during the day
  • Loud snoring
  • Difficulty concentrating throughout the day
  • Irritability
  • High blood pressure
  • Waking up with dry mouth and/or sore throat
  • Waking abruptly in the night, gasping for air or choking

If you are excessively tired during the day, wake up with a sore jaw, wake up gasping or choking, or snore so loudly that you disturb others, you should reach out to your dentist for a checkup. 

Not addressing signs of obstructive sleep apnea can result in a greater risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke. 

Who is at Risk? 

Nobody is safe from developing obstructive sleep apnea, but there are a few risk factors that increase the likelihood for certain individuals. These include: 

  • Being overweight
  • High blood pressure (this seems to go hand-in-hand with obstructive sleep apnea)
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Chronic nasal congestion or allergies 
  • Males two times more likely to be diagnosed
  • Asthma
  • Small airways
  • Family history

Again - even if you don’t have any of these risk factors, you may still develop obstructive sleep apnea. 

The Role of Your Dentist and Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Don’t be surprised if your dentist asks you about your sleep. Dentists often look for signs of teeth grinding, inflamed or receding gums, a spike in cavities, etc. Clenched jaws can often find their way into your sleep - disrupting it and wreaking havoc on your oral health. 

Your dentist has methods and tools that are used to treat obstructive sleep apnea so that you may begin sleeping peacefully. Treatment may include lifestyle changes, oral appliances, breathing machines, or surgery. For mild cases, oral appliance therapy may be used. It works by repositioning the tongue and lower jaw to keep the soft tissues from blocking your airway. 

If you suspect you have sleep apnea, contact your dentist. 

Learn More About Obstructive Sleep Apnea at Ryan Senft, DDS

To learn more about the obstructive sleep apnea treatment offered by Ryan Senft, DDS, or to schedule an appointment, contact our office at 408-996-8595 . We use the latest technology and most beneficial methods of treating your sleep apnea. 

Isn’t it time to start waking up rested and rejuvenated?