Does your sleeping partner snore? Does their breathing sound shallow? Do you notice their breathing stopping and starting? If you answered yes to any of these questions, it may be a sign of a breathing disorder called sleep apnea.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a common breathing disorder in which you experience shallow breathing or pauses in your breathing while you sleep. These pauses can last anywhere from a few seconds to minutes and can occur up to 30 times an hour. Normal breathing typically resumes with a choking or snorting sound after these pauses. Sleep apnea is an ongoing condition that can interrupt your sleep three or more nights a week. When your breathing pauses or becomes shallow, you will often move in and out of deep sleep. This interruption can cause excessive sleepiness during the day.
How We Treat Sleep Apnea
The goal of treating sleep apnea is to restore regular breathing during sleep. At East Mall Family Dental, we can take a number of approaches, depending on the severity of your case. In some cases of mild sleep apnea, changing daily activities or habits may be the solution:
• Avoid alcohol and medication that makes you tired.
• Lose weight – even a little weight loss can help.
• Change your sleeping position – try sleeping on your side, instead of your back.
• Use nasal sprays or strips to keep your air passages open at night.
• Quit smoking.
Sometimes we will prescribe a special mouthpiece that is worn while you sleep to aid to flow of air. This appliance will adjust your jaw and tongue to help keep your airways open.
In moderate to severe cases of sleep apnea, we will recommend a breathing device called a continuous positive airway pressure machine. This machine gently blows air into your throat. The air presses the wall of your airway, preventing it from becoming narrow or blocked while you sleep.
Talk to Us
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms described above, be sure to talk to us at East Mall Family Dental about sleep apnea. We may be able to help you get a better night’s sleep.