Sleepless nights are hard on you – but they’re not easy for your loved ones either if they’re kept awake by your snoring. Not only that, but a lack of rest may also make you short-tempered. Snoring and irritability are two symptoms of sleep apnea. In Irvine, we can improve your quality of rest and your family relations with a custom-made snore guard.Get a Better Night's Sleep Read Transcript
Sleep apnea is a condition that's been investigated more recently. A lot of people have sleep apnea and don't realize it, and this happens when patients will have a compromised airway when they sleep or even stop breathing for a minute, a minute and a half at a time. This can lead them to vulnerabilities with heart disease and some other problems. So we kind of laugh about snoring, but snoring is actually a compromised airway. Everybody snores now and then but if you're doing it consistently, that would be something that would be good to talk to the dentist about.
Not all dentists deal with sleep apnea. We do and it's very gratifying. These people typically will say, “I'm always tired. I never get enough rest. Yeah, I slept seven, eight hours, but it doesn't ever seem to be enough.” It's the quality of the sleep, not just the quantity and if these people stop breathing every couple of minutes for a minute, a minute and a half, the quality of their sleep is not good. They're gasping for air.
Sleep apnea has several treatments. Some of them can be done at the dentist. Some frankly have to be done at the physician, some are even done with the surgeon. I often explain the dentist is a good place to start because if we can help them there tend to be more direct and more straightforward and those would involve things like a night guard, a mouth guard, or what's called different phrases and brands, a snore guard, some way to support the airway.
Some patients are on CPAP machines and they know all about those and they proved to be very uncomfortable. They want to investigate other options and dental has some options available. What I tell patients, the best way is to come in and let's talk about it. Let's see where you are, see what you've had. Many times we coordinate with the physicians and order a sleep study where they can see exactly how often they're sleep deprived, how long they quit breathing, and that'll give us an idea of the severity of their sleep problem.
A snore guard will:
- Fit comfortably in your mouth without obstructing your face like a CPAP machine
- Keep your airway open so you don’t gasp for air throughout the night
- Prevent you from suffering from daytime fatigue
- Help you stay more alert and focused when awake
- Lower your risk of health conditions associated with sleep apnea, like high blood pressure and diabetes
A Snore Appliance Is a Less Invasive CPAP Alternative
Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when your tongue or other tissue in your throat blocks your airway while you sleep. A blocked airway causes you to briefly awaken many times a night while trying to breathe. Two commonly prescribed treatments to keep your airway clear are:
- A CPAP Machine – This machine produces a steady stream of pressurized air, which you typically breathe in through a mask worn over your nose.
- A Snore Guard – A snore guard resembles an athletic mouthguard. It gently moves your jaw into a position that keeps your airway open. It keeps you from snoring whether or not you have sleep apnea. Since it is custom made, it will fit you perfectly and be comfortable to wear. Unlike a CPAP, it doesn’t require batteries or electricity. It’s also easier to transport than a CPAP.
A logical first step in sleep apnea treatment is a sleep study. This is usually ordered by your physician. With an official diagnosis, it’s possible that insurance will pay for some or all of your treatment.
Sleep apnea symptoms include chronic loud snoring, daytime fatigue, difficulty focusing on tasks, and irritability. If you suspect you may have sleep apnea in Irvine or surrounding areas, call Tozzer Dental at 949-304-2897. Dr. Charles Tozzer can advise you on your next steps.