Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that occurs when a person’s airway temporarily collapses or becomes blocked during sleep. As a result, the person cannot get oxygen into their body, which can cause various health problems. Sleep apnea can lead to severe complications, including heart attack, stroke, and diabetes. At Gallery 32 Dental Arts, Dr. Allman helps patients relieve their symptoms with oral appliances created specifically for their condition.
The Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
The signs of sleep apnea include:
- Loud snoring
- Constant tiredness during the day
- Waking up suddenly throughout the night
However, many people have no idea they are suffering from sleep apnea because the symptoms are so subtle. Often, the problem is discovered during routine medical exams like physicals or blood work. Dentists can also use X-rays to look for signs of teeth grinding or shifting during sleep.
What Is the Treatment for Sleep Apnea?
The dentist may recommend an oral appliance to reposition the jaw and open the airway during sleep for patients with moderate to severe sleep apnea. The device is worn similarly to a night guard or orthodontic retainer. It is custom-made from impressions of the mouth to ensure the fit is comfortable and natural for the patient’s bite. The oral appliance can be used together with CPAP therapy to further improve the results.
Oral appliances are comfortable to wear and easy to care for and can be highly effective in treating mild to moderate sleep apnea and preventing snoring. They can even effectively treat mild cases of sleep apnea in children. Some patients prefer using oral appliances instead of CPAP because the devices are more convenient and don’t come with bulky equipment that needs to be maintained over time.
How Can You Prevent Sleep Apnea?
Smoking can affect your airways, increasing your sleep apnea risk. Smokers are two times more likely to develop the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea than those not smoking cigarettes. The nicotine in tobacco products also helps your body relax and can cause airway muscles to tighten, narrowing your airway.
Exercise and Eat Right
Both diet and exercise can help with weight loss, reducing your risk of sleep apnea and improving your overall quality of life. By eating healthy, you’ll be able to lose weight and also avoid certain items known to contribute to increased sleep apnea symptoms, such as alcohol and caffeine. A healthy diet can help you reach and maintain a healthy weight when combined with exercise.
If you are interested in learning more about sleep apnea treatment and oral appliances, visit Gallery 32 Dental Arts at 3580 Piedmont Road NE, STE #104, Atlanta, GA 30305, or call (404) 255-6929.