Is Sleep Apnea Dangerous?

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When was the last time you enjoyed a peaceful, restful night’s sleep? If you can’t remember the last time, you’re in the unfortunate category of many other American adults who can’t get the quality sleep they need.

If you aren’t getting 7-9 hours of sleep each night, you could be jeopardizing your health.

One common cause for this lack of quality sleep is sleep apnea. Most estimates show that nearly 10% of US adults have some form of sleep apnea. Over time, this condition can grow worse and contribute to other chronic health problems, like diabetes, hypertension, and stroke.

The talented dentists at Mosaic Dental in Sterling, Virginia, can diagnose and treat sleep apnea for better rest and general health.

What are the signs of sleep apnea?

Although there are a few types of sleep apnea, they present with similar symptoms.

Obviously, if you aren’t getting enough quality sleep, you feel tired, irritable, lethargic, and generally unable to focus. You may fall asleep easily when still for a few moments, even sitting up straight in a chair or while driving. Other common symptoms include:

Loud snoring

Snoring is the sound you make when the soft tissues in your throat relax and partially block your airway. Many people snore, but loud, obnoxious snoring is a sign of breathing difficulties, which can point to sleep apnea.

Pauses in breathing

Along with the loud snoring noted above comes broken patterns of breathing. Sufferers of sleep apnea actually stop breathing, pauses lasting from only a few seconds to over a minute at a time. This causes the oxygen levels in your blood to drop, straining many other bodily functions.

Repeated waking

This combination of airway restriction and breathing pauses triggers a reaction in your brain. When it realizes you’ve stopped breathing, it wakes you to restart normal breathing. This means you wake numerous times through the night, making it impossible to get a good night’s rest.

What are the risks for sleep apnea?

Several common factors have been found to increase your chances of developing sleep apnea, including:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Asthma
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • A family history of sleep apnea
  • Being male
  • Native American, Asian, or Black ancestry 

Your chances of having sleep apnea also increase if you have a wide neck circumference. This can increase pressure on your air passages and restrict the free flow of air to your lungs.

Custom mouthguards for sleep apnea

In the past, the only solution for sleep apnea was a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine you wore while sleeping. Now, less invasive and cumbersome solutions are available. Our skilled dentists at Mosaic Dental offer custom-made mouthguards to help with sleep apnea.

Digital images are taken of your mouth and throat and sent to a lab, where a custom mouthguard is designed and created for you.

Your dentist shows you how to fit the mouthguard over your teeth and wear it at night while you sleep. The mouthguard holds your lower jaw in a better position to keep your airway open, allowing for easier breathing, a reduction in snoring, and much better sleep.

Custom mouthguards for sleep apnea are a great solution if you can’t tolerate a CPAP machine.

Sleep apnea is dangerous, and if you suffer from the symptoms above, we can help. To get the quality, restful sleep you need, call Mosaic Dental or book your appointment online today.