Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder characterized by intense snoring and frequent interruptions to your sleep. Many people with sleep apnea wake up throughout the night gasping, but some symptoms — headaches, daytime sleepiness, and brain fog — can extend into the next day.
While you might not think of dental care as a solution for a sleep disorder, the reality is that dentistry can help you manage the many symptoms related to sleep apnea, from snoring to nightly gasping.
Below, Dr. Hinna Chaudhry shares which dental services here at Ardsley Dental Spa in Ardsley, New York, can help treat sleep apnea — so you can get a good night’s rest.
Do you have sleep apnea?
With sleep apnea, your breathing starts and stops throughout the night. Intense snoring is the most common sign of this condition, but other common signs include:
- Morning headaches
- Dry throat in the morning
- Sore throat (unrelated to an illness)
- Increased nighttime trips to the restroom
- Daytime fatigue
- Brain fog (from inadequate sleep)
- Frequently waking up throughout the night gasping for air
There are a few types of sleep apnea: central sleep apnea, obstructive sleep apnea, and a combination.
Central sleep apnea occurs because your brain doesn’t send the right signals to keep your body breathing. Obstructive sleep apnea, the most common form, happens because your airway is blocked. Excess throat tissue, for example, can block your airway.
A sleep study can confirm that you have sleep apnea and which type you have.
How dentistry can help treat sleep apnea
Central sleep apnea is often treated with a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. If you have obstructive sleep apnea, Dr. Chaudhry may suggest an oral appliance instead.
Many types of oral appliances, such as a nightguard, treat obstructive sleep apnea. Most of them function by keeping your jaw in the just-right position — pulled slightly forward — so your airway isn’t blocked while you sleep. All of these devices are custom-made to fit your anatomy.
In addition to wearing a nightguard, Dr. Chaudhry may also recommend you make lifestyle changes to help alleviate your symptoms. These may include:
- Sleeping on your side (sleeping on your back can exacerbate sleep apnea symptoms)
- Losing weight, if needed
- Avoiding alcohol consumption before bed
- Practicing good sleep hygiene, such as avoiding screen time before bed
Surgery may be beneficial in severe cases.
Benefits of oral appliances
A CPAP machine can help you breathe easier at night, but it can be noisy and difficult to clean. And some people report feeling claustrophobic wearing the mask all night long. CPAP machines also require an electrical outlet, which can be a bit of a challenge if you like to camp.
Unless you medically need a CPAP machine, oral appliances can offer you benefits that a CPAP machine can’t. They’re easy to clean, easy to wear (pop it into your mouth similar to a sports mouthguard), and easy to travel with — no outlet required!
Don’t let sleep apnea keep you from the sleep you deserve
If sleep apnea is keeping you from the rest you deserve, reach out to our award-winning team here at Ardsley Dental Spa. Treating sleep apnea can improve your quality of sleep and help you avoid the serious complications of untreated sleep apnea, such as hypertension.
Find out if a custom-fit nightguard is the solution you’ve been waiting for. You can reach us at 914-348-9815 today or through our online booking form.