Sleep apnea is a serious medical condition which affects millions of people all over the world, including children. While not every case can be addressed through dental care, some of them can. In severe cases, help by a healthcare professional should be sought after immediately, especially in the rare but not unheard of life threatening situations. For any other type of condition, there may be a way that our oral health specialists here at Mor Smiles can help.
What Causes It
This condition can come about as the result of a variety of factors. In the more common cases, certain muscles become too relaxed in the back of your throat, which support and keep open side walls and the soft palate. In other situations, there may be an excess of tissue buildup in or around the throat which hinders breathing when lying down. A less common, but still possible cause is that there is some kind of disconnect between the brain’s signals and the respiratory systems’ response.
Different Types of Sleep Apnea
These differing causes also make up the distinction between the two main kinds of sleep apnea; obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea. When the problem is physical and involves the relaxing of muscles or closing of the airways it is obstructive.
When the body is not receiving the message from the brain that it needs to breathe while asleep, that is another problem altogether. It is known as central sleep apnea. It can sometimes be very difficult to distinguish between obstructive and central sleep apnea because many of the symptoms are often similar and overlap with one another.
Short and Long Term Effects
Sleep apnea is a disorder that has an immediate impact on the person suffering from it, as well as one which also creates numerous long term effects as well. At first, the biggest problems may be a rough night here and there and a little daytime drowsiness. However, over time these things usually develop into much more serious issues.
These include moderate to severe sleep deprivation, moodiness, emotional imbalances, difficulty concentrating, as well as also impacting the sleep cycle of your partner in much the same manner.
Ways It May Be Treated
In the instances when sleep apnea may have a dental solution, you are not without different treatment options from which to choose. Some people prefer to use a CPAP machine to assist with their nighttime breathing issues. Although they can be effective, they are definitely not for everyone.
Only people who sleep squarely on their backs can use them. CPAP machines do not work well for side sleepers and stomach sleepers. For the excess tissue, which may reposition itself when the patient lies down, thereby impeding breathing, surgery to remove it may be a possibility. There are also numerous mouth and tongue appliances and devices designed to address sleep apnea as well.
Sleep apnea is a serious condition and should be addressed sooner rather than later. While most cases range from annoyance to chronic sleep inhibition, in the most extreme cases it can be fatal. Let our oral health practitioners here at Mor Smiles help you find out if there may be a dental solution to your problem. Call us at 223-258-5088 to learn more.