Sleep apnea is a disorder that results in the momentary cessation of breathing throughout the night. These involuntary pauses in breathing might seem like a small thing, but for some people, they occur up to sixty or more times per hour for a duration of up to 30 seconds each time… That’s almost FOUR hours of no breathing in an 8-hour time span!
When this happens, breathing cessation can end by a gasp for air, and while you may not be aware of it, it will awaken you and make getting a restful, restorative sleep impossible. You’re nowhere near being prepared for the day ahead.
If you’re thinking it’s just a bit of snoring, you need to know these facts:
- Sleep apnea contributes to an increased risk of hypertension, diabetes, weight gain, memory problems, or premature death.
- The Centers For Disease Control reports that up to 6,000 fatal crashes a year are caused by drowsy driving.
- Risk factors include obesity, age, menopause, craniofacial abnormalities, smoking, alcohol use, and family history.
Often a sleep partner identifies sleep apnea in a loved one, but what if you live alone? In addition to the risk factors listed above, here’s a checklist that will help you determine if you should be checked for sleep apnea.
Do you experience…
- disturbed sleep
- loud snoring
- difficulty concentrating
- depression or irritability
- learning and memory difficulties
- sleepiness while at work, on the phone, or while driving.
If you suspect you may have sleep apnea, a sleep study can be prescribed by your primary care physician. If you are diagnosed, you may be prescribed a CPAP machine – you’ve likely seen photos of its mask and air hose. But some people simply can’t tolerate it. Because of that, I’d like to tell you about another option – a custom-fitted dental appliance.
Sleep apnea is probably not something you’d think to go to your dentist about – let alone Google “sleep apnea dentist” to find a care provider. But if you have, we’re glad you found us, because we can help you with a small comfortable dental appliance that is worn at night.
A custom-fitted dental appliance to prevent apnea episodes is…
- convenient – after your diagnosis, we fabricate it for you and ensure its adjusted perfectly to your mouth and jaw
- comfortable – small, light & unobtrusive … so you’ll actually wear it!
- portable – fits in your pocket
- silent – no humming machine or blowing air
- non-surgical – there’s no downtime.
Not everyone is a candidate for the sleep apnea appliance, but most are. Give us a call and let’s investigate. We’ll work with you and your healthcare team to keep you happy and healthy – and sleeping soundly through the night.
Yours in dental – and overall – health,
Dr. Steven Wegner, your dentist in Omaha