Getting a good night's sleep can be difficult if you snore or have sleep apnea. Fortunately, your New Hope, PA, dentist, Dr. Dawn Rickert, offers oral appliances that can reduce snoring and sleep apnea symptoms.
How sleep apnea can affect your health
Sleep apnea occurs when you stop breathing for short periods of time. Although each breathing pause may only last seconds, the pauses deprive your brain of oxygen. These pauses often occur hundreds of times during the night, although you may not be aware that you've stopped breathing.
If you don't receive treatment for sleep apnea, your risk of these health conditions may increase:
- Heart attack
- Heart failure
- Abnormal heartbeat
- High blood pressure
When your breathing is interrupted frequently during the night, you may feel tired and irritable during the day and might notice that it's difficult to concentrate or remember things. Chronic fatigue isn't just annoying but can be a safety issue that compromises your ability to drive responsibly or operate machinery.
How an oral appliance can improve your symptoms
An oral appliance offers a simple way to treat obstructive sleep apnea, a condition that occurs when your tongue or the muscles in your throat partially or fully block your airway. The tissues vibrate with each breath you take, causing snoring. Although snoring can also occur if you don't have sleep apnea, it's a common symptom of the sleep disorder.
Keeping your airway open is the goal of sleep apnea treatment. Your dentist can provide you with an oral appliance that moves your jaw forward. When your jaw is in this position, your airway remains open and your tongue doesn't block the airway. Improving the flow of air also decreases the likelihood that you'll snore, which not only benefits you but may also help your family members sleep more soundly.
The oral appliance looks like a mouthguard, although it's much more sophisticated. Your dentist will carefully evaluate your jaw and teeth when designing your appliance. Each appliance is custom-made to address each patient's needs and offers a comfortable, quiet alternative to continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines.
Do you snore or have sleep apnea? Call your dentist in New Hope, PA, Dr. Rickert, at (215) 862-2525 to schedule an appointment.