What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a common sleeping disorder that disrupts your sleep. Sleep apnea causes breathing pauses or the breathing to become shallow. The pauses can last from seconds to a few minutes causing you to move out of deep sleep into light sleep by jolting you out of your natural sleep rhythm. This may happen as much as 30 times during an hour while you sleep. Then your breathing resumes normally after a loud snort or a choking sound.
Types of Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea has two types:
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea
This a common form in which the throat muscles start to relax and collapse. There is an obstruction causing a blockage in the upper airway. This again causes you to gasp for breath.
- Central Sleep Apnea
This is the type of breathing obstruction that has more to do with the brain, its communication as its signaling. What happens is that the brain temporarily fails to send a command to the muscles that are responsible for breathing.
Symptoms and how is it Detrimental to Your Health?
Snoring is often a sign of sleep apnea. This is generally loud and disruptive. Morning headaches also occur due to the decreased oxygen supply to the brain. Sleep apnea affects your quality of sleep, leaving you tired and fatigued. It is actually the most prevalent cause of daytime sleepiness, slow reflexes, and poor concentration. This can also lead to poor performance in your regular work and recreational related activities. If sleep apnea goes undiagnosed and untreated, it can lead to an array of growing health problems such as high blood pressure, strokes, headaches, depression and irregular heartbeats.
The Side Effects on Your Teeth
Sleep apnea can cause teeth grinding, which occurs due to the obstruction of the airways. Even when restoring teeth, it has to be kept in mind that it was sleep apnea that destroyed these teeth in the beginning and it will continue to do the same if not treated properly.
Grinding is not only bad and worrisome because it ruins your teeth, it also adds up to an uncomfortable night’s sleep. It can damage the jaw leading to permanent jaw pain or damage to the jaw point.
How to Cure Sleep Apnea – How Can Dentists Help?
The best part about visiting a dentist when seeking help to cure sleep apnea is that they offer oral therapy. This includes mouth pieces and devices that can successfully prevent sleep apnea in some mild to moderate cases and are often used as alternatives to sleep apnea surgery.
This device is called Elastic Mandibular Advancement device or EMA. An EMA is customized to treat obstructive sleep apnea and snoring in patients. The EMA device keeps your airway open so you can breathe freely without thrusting your jaw forward during sleep.
It is designed to be non-invasive and the open bite allows you to decrease the restriction on airflow while you sleep. What then constitutes to a good night’s deep sleep is the reduced airway turbulence and the elimination of snoring.
The way the EMA produces better sleep is that it prevents snoring and reduces the symptoms of sleep apnea which makes it worthwhile to check with your dentist to see if they can help.
Dr. LaMura has helped many patients by providing them with a proper EMA to help them prevent further teeth damage and to help them get a better night’s sleep. Contact our office and make an appointment to speak with Dr. LaMura.