Snoring can mean a less than desirable night’s sleep for both the snorer and the person who shares their bed but can also be the sign of a bigger problem called sleep apnea. Though it is common and affects many people, those who snore may not realize they have a problem at all, much less suffer from a complex condition like sleep apnea. However, learning the signs and symptoms of this potentially dangerous condition can help you and your partner get the good night’s sleep you deserve. Find out more about sleep apnea, its symptoms, and how your dentist can help you control your snoring with Dr. William Ralstin and Dr. Lindsey Horwedel in Fort Worth, TX.
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea causes pauses in a person’s breathing while they sleep, resulting in an array of unpleasant symptoms, both at night and during the day. There are two types of sleep apnea, one caused by a physical obstruction of the airway, obtrusive sleep apnea (OSA), and one caused by the brain and lungs not sending the correct signals to each other, central sleep apnea (CSA). Patients can suffer from both OSA and CSA, a condition known as mixed sleep apnea.
Do I have sleep apnea?
The main symptom of sleep apnea is excessive snoring, which often affects bed partners’ sleep. This loud symptom is accompanied by pauses in breathing, followed by gasping or choking noises. Since the patient is asleep, they often do not realize they present the symptoms of sleep apnea.
Diagnosing Sleep Apnea
Since there is no definitive test to diagnose sleep apnea, a sleep study, which takes place in a laboratory setting, is often enough to help your doctor diagnose sleep apnea. The sleep test requires the patient to spend the night in the laboratory and occurs while laboratory technicians observe the sleeping patterns and symptoms. There is often an area to change and shower in the lab in the morning if the patient needs to go directly to work or school.
Dental Treatments for Sleep Apnea in Fort Worth
Your dentist can help you treat your obtrusive sleep apnea using dental oral appliances. The appliance, worn in the mouth, pulls the lower jaw forward and keeps the airway open while the patient sleeps. Your dentist will work together with your other healthcare professionals to ensure that an oral appliance the best treatment plan for you.
For more information on sleep apnea and its treatments, please contact Dr. Ralstin and Dr. Horwedel in Fort Worth, TX. Call 817-926-8700 to schedule a consultation with your dentist.