The National Sleep Foundation estimates that more than 18 million American adults have sleep apnea. This is a disorder that interrupts breathing briefly and repeatedly during sleep. The term “apnea” refers to a breathing pause that usually lasts at least ten seconds.
Since the most noticeable symptoms only occur when you are asleep, identifying sleep apnea on your own can be hard. You can get around this by recording yourself during sleep or asking your partner to monitor your sleep habits. Major signs include:
- Chronic and loud snoring almost every night
- Gasping or choking during sleep
- Prolonged pauses in breathing
- Shortness of breath when you wake up at night
- Sleepiness and fatigue during the day, no matter how long you stayed in bed
Sleep apnea is not always easy to recognize in children. In addition to the snoring, a child with sleep apnea may adopt strange sleeping positions, wet the bed, perspire excessively, or even have night terrors. That is why Dr. Vivek Nerikar, a leading practitioner of pediatric dentistry in Ocala FL, recommends consulting a professional right away.
Sleep apnea is a progressive disorder. Left untreated, the frequent pause in breathing can increase the risks of cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attack, stroke and severe chest pains. People suffering from sleep apnea are also more likely to have sexual impotence and develop diabetes.
There are a number of treatment options for sleep apnea. The first method involves changing certain lifestyle habits. These include:
- Weight loss
- Quit smoking
- Limit your alcohol and sleeping pills intake before bed time
You can also get a dental device like the mandibular repositioning and tongue retainer. Both tools open your airway by bringing your lower jaw or your tongue forward during sleep. We can help determine if these devices are right for you.
If you have exhausted these options without results, you may want to discuss surgical options with your doctor. Surgery can increase the size of your airway, which in turn reduces your sleep apnea episodes. In addition to treating sleep apnea, we offer teeth whitening in Rockledge FL, and our many other locations.
Let us work with you today to maintain your oral health. Book an appointment with us by giving us a call. You can also reach us through our request form.