Sleep apnea comes in two forms: central sleep apnea and obstructive sleep apnea. Most people suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, which causes their breathing to become laboured and full of pauses. It can also cause loud snoring, which is problematic to anyone sleeping beside you. Sleep apnea is dangerous if left untreated; however, your dentist can help.
If you’ve been recently diagnosed with sleep apnea this is how your dentist can help you correct the problem:
- Custom mouth devices – Your dentist can fit you for a custom device that keeps your mouth open while you sleep. Custom devices are made specific to your mouth to keep your lower jaw and tongue positioned in a way that opens your airway passages, allowing you to breath at night.
- Regular dental checkups – To help relieve sleep apnea, you should visit your dentist regularly for checkups. This will ensure that you are not only getting your teeth professionally cleaned but that you are on top of your oral health.
- Gum disease prevention – Gum disease can cause your gums to become inflamed and obstruct your breathing. Your dentist will give you gum disease prevention tips when you come in for your regular checkups. He/she will also treat inflamed gums.
- Tonsil checks – Some people are prone to throat infections that affect their tonsils. Your dentist will notice if your tonsils are inflamed. Swollen tonsils can cause sleep apnea and you may require antibiotics to help alleviate the inflammation. Your dentist can also refer you to an ENT (ears, nose and throat) specialist who can treat your tonsil issues.
What you can do on your own to relieve sleep apnea:
- Avoid alcoholic beverages at least four hours before bed.
- Quit smoking to prevent airflow trouble in your airway passages.
- Lose and maintain a healthy wealth. Sleep apnea is often caused by excess weight; however, you should consult your healthcare professional for proper weight loss techniques.
- Sleep on your side or prop yourself up with plenty of pillows to ensure your airways aren’t blocked while you’re in dreamland.
- See your dentist about “nose plugs” or breathing strips. These are a both devices that can help open a clear pathway in the nasal cavity.
- Do not take any medication for sleep apnea that isn’t prescribed by a medical professional. Any medication you buy over-the-counter at the pharmacy that is supposed to treat sleep apnea probably won’t be too effective.
If you find yourself plagued by sleep apnea contact us to make an appointment. We can help!