Chronic snoring can annoy your partner and affect the quality of your sleep, but it can also be a sign of sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a serious condition that is characterized by breathing interruptions. These interruptions tend to wake you throughout the night — potentially hundreds of times every evening if your case is severe — leading to sleep deprivation and long-term health concerns.
Not everyone who snores has sleep apnea. However, there are a few signs to watch for that, when coupled with chronic snoring, may indicate the presence of this condition. Our dentists at Meadows Dental Group want you to be aware of the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea as well as the effective treatment option that we offer at our practice.
Signs That You May Suffer From Sleep Apnea
Snoring occurs when the tissues in your throat relax, partially block your airway, and then vibrate to create a sound. With obstructive sleep apnea, tissues block your upper airway to the point that your breathing becomes very shallow or you briefly stop breathing at all.
As you may know, loud, persistent snoring is a frequently cited symptom of sleep apnea. However, you can suffer from sleep apnea and not snore, and snore without having sleep apnea. Since many people who snore are not even aware of it unless a partner brings it up, it’s important to know the other signs of this condition.
Common signs and symptoms of sleep apnea include:
- Waking up in the middle of the night gasping for air
- Waking up frequently
- Chronic dry mouth or sore throat upon waking
- Morning headaches
- Daytime sleepiness or fatigue
- Difficulty getting up in the morning
- Depression, irritability, or forgetfulness
- Night sweats
If you suffer from chronic snoring or other signs of sleep apnea, you should visit a sleep medicine doctor for a diagnosis. Left unaddressed, sleep apnea can increase your risk for serious health problems such as high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke.
Treating Sleep Apnea with an Oral Appliance
If you have sleep apnea, your sleep doctor will likely suggest that you use a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device. This device is essentially a face mask that you wear overnight to maintain a consistent flow of air.
While a CPAP machine is an incredibly effective way to manage sleep apnea, it isn’t the best solution for everyone. Some people find that the device is uncomfortable, noisy, difficult to adjust, or generally impractical. If you are unhappy with your CPAP treatment, our dentists can help.
Oral splint therapy is a sleep apnea treatment option for patients who want a CPAP alternative. Our dentists will create a custom oral appliance — which resembles a mouth guard — that you wear overnight to gently reposition your jaw. By guiding your jaw to its optimal position, this comfortable device can keep your airway open while you sleep.
Arrange Your Lone Tree Sleep Apnea Consultation
If you have sleep apnea and want to explore treatment options beyond a CPAP machine, call 303-790-2323. Dr. Scott Peppler has advanced training in treating sleep apnea with dental appliances. Meadows Dental Group proudly serves Lone Tree, Highlands Ranch, Centennial and other areas of Colorado.