Millions of people experience snoring on an occasional or regular basis. This common concern can disturb one’s quality of sleep, be bothersome to others, and be a sign of a more serious health condition called sleep apnea. As a result, numerous patients seek out treatment for snoring, and our top cosmetic dentists can help. If you or a loved one has difficulty breathing normally when resting, we can assist you in diagnosing the source of the problem with your primary care physician or sleep specialist physician, and then provide innovative treatment options designed to enhance respiration and reduce snoring noise.
Would you like to know more about treatment options for snoring? Contact our office today for more information or to schedule a consultation.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a condition in which you pause or stop breathing while sleeping. This may happen once or occur periodically throughout the evening (or when resting) for a few seconds or longer. When your brain is deprived of oxygen during these periods of breathlessness, it wakes you up to restart breathing. These brief moments of consciousness can have a detrimental affect on your quality of sleep, leading to fatigue, headaches, and other problems during the day. Additionally, sleep apnea can be dangerous, and even life-threatening. Symptoms can include high blood pressure, cardiac arrest, diabetes, memory loss, and stroke. If you believe you may have this condition, we encourage you to speak with our dental professionals about your individual sleep experience.
In most cases, sleep apnea will be caused by the physical obstruction of the airway, called Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). This can happen when the soft tissues of the mouth collapse and cover the passage. In other instances, the muscles that allow you to breathe respond sporadically or not at all to the brain’s signals to function. Snoring is one of the most common symptoms of sleep apnea; the noise typically occurs when the airway is partially or fully blocked.
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
Snoring does not always indicate sleep apnea; however, if you experience this issue as well as other symptoms, you should seek out a diagnosis from a professional with extensive experience with this condition. Other signs of sleep apnea include:
- Loud, intense snoring or choking noises
- Fatigue or extreme drowsiness during the day (or waking hours)
- Difficulty falling or staying asleep
- Headaches upon waking
Untreated sleep apnea can have a number of health consequences that you may not expect, including high blood pressure, heart disease, memory problems, stroke, depression, and even diabetes. For this reason, an evaluation from a sleep specialist is essential if you experience any of the above symptoms and believe a sleep disorder may be the cause.
SLEEP APNEA AND AGING
In addition to sleep apnea’s association with potentially serious health concerns, recent data has suggested that there may also be a definitive link between sleep apnea and accelerated aging. According to studies presented at the 33rd Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies, sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) was shown to have a direct relationship to a faster rate of aging. SDB has commonly been associated with age-related health conditions, such as Alzheimer’s and dementia, but this study is the first of its kind to link severe sleep disruption with epigenetic age acceleration, or aging as a result of non-genetic factors.
The study revealed that women in particular are especially vulnerable to the age-related repercussions of sleep-disordered breathing. Interestingly enough, the correlation between SDB and a speedier aging process was stronger in women when compared to men, although women were shown to have less severe SDB than men. As sleep medicine continues to research the causes and potential ramifications of sleep apnea, patients can rest assured knowing that treatments to improve or resolve the symptoms of sleep apnea are non-invasive and can be very effective. In fact, treatments for SDB—including those for sleep apnea—may have the potential to improve certain health conditions caused by aging.
TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR SLEEP APNEA
Sometimes a snore is just a snore. However, this noisy condition can reduce the quality of sleep for you and for others around you. At Scripps Center for Dental Care, we offer a wide selection of treatment options for snoring that combine behavioral changes with leading techniques and technologies. When you arrive for your initial consultation, we will develop a personalized treatment plan that can help you achieve a better night’s sleep.
One excellent method for treating snoring and mild to moderate OSA is an oral device called SomnoDent®. This appliance is customized to precisely fit your mouth and is worn during sleep. Designed to comfortably provide Continuous Open Airway Therapy (COAT), SomnoDent® gently repositions the lower jaw in such a way as to ensure the breathing passage remains clearer while resting.
For more information about snoring and sleep apnea treatment, please contact us today. Our friendly and knowledgeable team can answer questions and help you schedule a consultation.