The term “apnea” refers to a pause in breathing. We all take pauses in our breaths throughout the day without realizing it. But in sleep apnea, these pauses last ten seconds or longer, and when we finally take a breath, we are often jolted awake. These constant interruptions in the sleep cycle mean that patients suffering from sleep apnea never get a good night’s sleep.

What are the types and symptoms of sleep apnea?

Obstructive sleep apnea is estimated to affect twenty million Americans per day, and most cases are undiagnosed. In this condition, your throat muscles relax and collapse your airway, creating a physical obstruction to your breathing during sleep. Less common is central sleep apnea, where your brain sends incorrect signals to your breathing muscles during sleep.

You should get a sleep apnea test if you experience some or all of the following symptoms:

  • Chronic or extremely loud snoring
  • Waking up with a feeling of gasping or choking
  • Drowsiness and fatigue during the day
  • Waking up with a dry mouth, headache, or sore throat

Sleep apnea solutions address the problem at the source, by correcting breathing during sleep. With a regular sleeping schedule reestablished, your daytime symptoms will decrease.

What are the types of sleep apnea treatments?

CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machines consist of a face mask connected to a small machine by a tube. The machine prevents your airway from collapsing by continuously generating air pressure, allowing you to breathe easily during sleep. This is the most common type of sleep apnea treatment. The machine easily fits on a bedside table.

Another option is a custom-fit mouthpiece. These oral appliances are similar to mouthguards, except instead of protecting your teeth from trauma, they reposition your jaw to enlarge the airway.

Lifestyle factors including smoking, alcohol use, sedative use, and obesity can also contribute to sleep apnea. In rare cases, patients may need surgery to correct structural abnormalities and enlarge the airway, but only if the patient does not respond to standard treatments.

Schedule your consultation at Pacific Dental Care today. The first step will be a sleep apnea test, which will enable us to assess your condition and determine the best approach for treatment. Sleep apnea treatment can greatly improve your quality of life, so don’t hesitate to address the problem right away.