Snoring is very common among men and women, and it can be disturbing to partners and roommates during sleep. Aside from causing many an argument after a restless night of sleep, snoring can also be a sign of more serious health condition — sleep apnea. High blood pressure, fatigue, and other health conditions have all been associated with sleep apnea.
Luckily, your dentist can help you discuss conservative treatment options for snoring and sleep apnea. At Benson Dental, we offer dental appliances, such as custom mouth guards, to open the airway during sleep and prevent snoring. If a patient has sleep apnea, they may also be candidates for a CPAP machine or other treatments.
Snoring and Your Health
When air passes the back of your throat and goes down the windpipe, sometimes the soft palate, tongue, or another soft tissue can vibrate, causing the sound of snoring. If the airway becomes too constricted while you sleep, it can cause an apnea or a pause in breathing. These apneas can last a few seconds to minutes at a time, and severe sleep apnea sufferers can experience 40 or more apneas per hour.
Not getting adequate oxygen intake can cause serious health problems, in addition to affecting your quality of sleep. Sleep apnea has been associated with the following symptoms and conditions:
- Chronic fatigue and falling asleep during the day
- Choking or gasping sounds during sleep (usually noticed first by a partner or roommate)
- Difficulty falling or staying asleep
- Memory problems or mental fog
- Depression or irritability
- Heart disease and heart failure
Snoring isn’t always a sign of sleep apnea, and it’s possible to experience snoring without any other adverse health effects. Still, if you or a partner suffers from chronic snoring, it may be a good idea to see a doctor to determine if you have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
Sleep Apnea Treatment
If you are diagnosed with sleep apnea, Dr. Benson can recommend a variety of noninvasive treatment options to help relieve your condition. Sometimes lifestyle modifications, such as weight loss (if needed), side sleeping, and avoiding alcoholic beverages can be very effective.
If these measures alone don’t help, Dr. Benson may recommend oral appliance therapy. The device will fit much like a retainer or athletic mouth guard. The custom fit will comfortably open your airway while you sleep. CPAP machines are another option that can be worn during sleep to promote airflow. If all else fails, orthodontic work or surgery may be a better choice.
The right option for you will largely depend on the cause of your condition. If you snore and experience daytime grogginess, talk to Dr. Benson about your treatment options as soon as possible.
Conservative Sleep Apnea Treatment at Benson Dental
At Benson Dental in Sioux Falls, SD, Dr. Bruce Benson can give you a consultation and oral exam to help determine whether oral appliance therapy or another conservative treatment option is right for you. Many patients find oral appliance therapy preferable to wearing a CPAP device, but every patient is different, and Dr. Benson will be happy to go over the particulars of your condition. For more information, contact our office in Sioux Falls today.