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Questions to Ask a Dentist About Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which breathing stops and starts repeatedly while sleeping. The disorder prevents people from getting a good night’s rest and leaves them fatigued during the day. Fortunately, the disorder can be treated using home remedies or by seeking professional help.
Frequently asked questions about sleep apnea
Some of the questions to ask a dentist about sleep apnea include:
What is obstructive sleep apnea?
This is a very common form of sleep apnea. It is a condition where the airway becomes covered while sleeping due to abnormal relaxation of the tongue muscle and surrounding muscles around the tongue. When the airway is covered, breathing stops, which leads to lower oxygen levels in the blood. Once the brain senses one’s inability to breath, it briefly wakes the person up so they can reopen their airway.
Does sleep apnea affect all ages?
Yes, sleep apnea occurs in people of all ages, but it is most common in men. An estimated 4% of middle-aged men and 2% of middle-aged women have sleep apnea. According to studies, people who are likely to have sleep apnea include:
- Overweight people
- People who snore loudly
- People with high blood pressure
- People with parents that have sleep apnea
Is sleep apnea dangerous to one’s health?
Yes, sleep apnea is considered to be dangerous to a person’s health because the disorder prevents people from getting enough rest at night and leaves them tired during the day. It can also lead to heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, personality change, depression and impotence.
How do I know if I have sleep apnea?
People who have symptoms of sleep apnea should schedule an appointment with a dentist to get evaluated. If they do have the disorder, they can go over their treatment options.
Can sleep apnea be treated?
Yes, sleep apnea can be treated in a number of ways. Some of the most common treatment options include:
- Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines: This is a machine that is used to treat moderate to severe sleep apnea. The machine delivers air pressure through a mask while the patient sleeps. The air pressure generated is greater than the air pressure in the surrounding air and keeps the airway open, which prevents snoring and apnea.
- Oral appliances: Even though these devices are not as effective as the CPAP machine, they provide an alternative to the CPAP for people that cannot sleep comfortably with the machine attached to their nose. The appliance is designed to keep the throat open while sleeping by moving the jaw forward, which relieves mild sleep apnea and snoring.
- Surgery: This is usually considered an option after other treatments have failed. In cases where the patient’s jaw has structural problems, surgery is considered the best treatment option.
Having sleep apnea can leave you feeling tired during the day and lead to significant health problems. If you think you have sleep apnea, schedule an appointment with your dentist to get evaluated and go over your treatment options.
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