Sleep apnea occurs when air passages become blocked and airflow stops for periods of ten seconds or longer, repeatedly. Sufferers often feel groggy upon waking and can’t seem to shake that foggy-headed feeling. Snoring is also a side-effect of sleep apnea as snoring is related to a disrupted breathing passage. It is a very serious health problem and has been cited in increasing the risk of stroke, obesity, diabetes, heart attack, heart failure, irregular heartbeat, and high blood pressure. It is also the leading cause of car accidents because of the way it reduces the quality of your sleep and contributes to daytime sleepiness. To help patients find relief from the problems associated with sleep apnea, Dr. Hodges creates custom-fitted oral appliances to alleviate snoring and apnea and help patients get a good night’s rest.
Sleep Apnea Symptoms
You may be well aware that you are not getting a good night’s sleep but in addition to restlessness the symptoms may include:
- Gasping for air or choking during sleep
- Loud snoring
- Being very tired during the day
- Dozing off during mundane tasks (including driving!)
- Waking up often during the night
- Waking with a sore throat or dry mouth
- Going to the bathroom often during the night
- Having headaches in the early morning
- Poor memory and difficulty concentrating
- Mood problems
When the air passages become blocked and airflow stops for prolonged periods of time the lapses trigger the brain to wake up. This prevents you from feeling refreshed throughout the day, and can lead to feelings of irritability and depression.
Sleep Apnea Treatment
Although the above symptoms don’t necessarily mean that you have the condition, they should suggest that you receive a proper evaluation. Our sleep dentists can recommend a sleep clinic where you can get a proper evaluation. Part of an accurate sleep apnea diagnosis may require a sleep study. If you have it, we can design an oral appliance for you that repositions the tongue and lower jaw to open air passages and restore peaceful, healthy slumber. The device can also eliminate snoring so the other members of your house can begin to rest peacefully.
Oral appliances are also a great option for people who have tried CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure), but have been unable to sleep comfortably with it.