For most people, snoring is a completely normal occurrence affecting approximately 40% of adult men and 24% of adult women.

But for some, snoring is a sign of sleep apnea, a dangerous disorder in which your airways temporarily become blocked and you repeatedly stop breathing. While you may not initially look to your dentist when thinking about a sleep disorder, the experts at Center for Advanced Dentistry help treat patients with sleep apnea because the condition often starts in the mouth.

What are the types of sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that involves multiple brief pauses in breathing during sleep. These pauses are known as “apneas,” and they occur because your airways temporarily become blocked. There are three types of sleep apnea.

Obstructive sleep apnea

The most common type, obstructive sleep apnea involves physical blockage of your airways, usually because of lax throat tissue.

Central sleep apnea

This form of sleep apnea occurs when your brain fails to signal the muscles that control breathing, while you sleep.

Complex sleep apnea syndrome

Also called treatment-emergent central sleep apnea, this condition occurs when you show signs of both obstructive and central sleep apnea.

Potential complications of sleep apnea

It’s not wise to ignore sleep apnea. If left untreated, it can cause serious health effects including:

  • Depression
  • Memory loss
  • Confusion and brain fog
  • Acid reflux and heartburn
  • Inhibited immune system
  • Asthma
  • High blood pressure
  • Cardiovascular issues
  • Poor liver health
  • High cholesterol
  • Low blood oxygen
  • High blood sugar
  • Tiredness

How to tell if you have sleep apnea

Unfortunately, you cannot self-diagnose sleep apnea. The process requires a thorough health exam, health history, and testing either supervised by a doctor or done at home as directed by a doctor. However, you can look out for some signs and symptoms of sleep apnea.

Some of the most common symptoms of sleep apnea include:

  • Loud and/or consistent snoring (loudly enough to wake up you or your partner)
  • Chronic fatigue and sleepiness during the daytime
  • Choking or gasping during sleep
  • Finding it hard to wake up in the morning
  • Problems focusing during the day
  • Low productivity
  • Irritability and mood swings
  • Constantly waking up to use the bathroom after you've gone to bed

If you’re consistently experiencing any of these symptoms, you should seek a medical evaluation with our team right away. At Center for Advanced Dentistry, we offer custom-fitted oral appliances to help treat your sleep apnea. The oral appliance fits comfortably in your mouth while you sleep, much like a mouthguard.

To learn more about sleep apnea and getting fitted for a custom oral appliance, call Center for Advanced Dentistry or request an appointment online.

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