You may not be a chronic snorer, but at one time or another, you have probably snored. While snoring isn’t terrible, it can lead to a decrease in the quantity and quality of your sleep. As we know, poor sleep can leave us feeling tired, and you may even experience daytime fatigue, irritability, poor behavior, trouble with relationships, and increased health issues.
However, if your snoring is so loud that your bed partner can’t sleep, it may be a symptom of a much more dangerous issue, sleep apnea.
We can describe sleep apnea as the relaxation of your muscles that control the upper airway, sometimes causing snoring. When your airway entirely restricts, it can cause you to stop breathing temporarily. These pauses in breath are called episodes, and when this happens, we’re explicitly referring to obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
Sleep apnea episodes can occur frequently-even several hundred times a night. Each episode can last for a few seconds or up to a minute or more.
Sleep apnea is challenging to identify because the symptoms and their severity can vary immensely. Some of the common signs of sleep apnea are as follows:
Did you know that we can link sleep apnea to an array of dangerous health conditions? For example, sleep apnea can strain your cardiovascular system, increasing your chance of having a heart attack or developing heart disease. Furthermore, If left untreated, sleep apnea can contribute to risk factors like high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, and depression.
Treating sleep apnea is important because:
Across the industry, there are a variety of effective treatments for snoring and sleep apnea, including but not limited to CPAP masks and positional therapy. One of the most widely accepted sleep apnea treatments is Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT). Dr. Alfano will customize this mouthguard-like device so that it fits your unique smile and works by keeping your airway open.
Most patients that suffer from snoring or sleep apnea will try a CPAP device, but over 50% will stop before the first year of treatment. Patients typically stop using the CPAP because it’s restrictive—the CPAP requires you to wear a mask with hoses and straps while you sleep. OAT restores your freedom and provides symptom relief.
Moreover, the most significant benefit of oral appliance therapy is that it doesn’t involve medications or surgery to help you sleep better. Many patients experience the benefits immediately.
At Balboa Island Dentistry, we’re committed to solving your issues, whether related to sleep or dentistry. If you believe you may be suffering from sleep apnea or excessive snoring, we encourage you to contact our office at (949) 673-7820. By scheduling a consultation, Dr. Alfano can help you get one step closer to a fulfilling night’s rest and the treatment that you deserve.