Woman covering ears due to husband snoringDo you or a loved one have a problem with chronic snoring? Have you ever woken up from a dead sleep because of your own snoring? Do you wake up after a full eight hours in bed, feeling like you hardly had any sleep? Your snoring may have roots in a sinus problem or nasal congestion, but it may also signify a much more dangerous problem, known as sleep apnea. Sleep apnea occurs when the airway becomes obstructed during sleep, causing the person to snore, wake up repeatedly, and even stop breathing. In many, sleep apnea can lead to more serious health conditions, putting their lives at risk. At Docklands Dental Studio, our doctors can help diagnose and treat sleep apnea, keeping you healthy, and helping you get the rest you deserve. Call our Docklands dental office today at (03) 9021-9487 to schedule an appointment with one of our doctors.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Anyone can develop sleep apnea, and many people have no idea they suffer from it. Apnea typically goes undetected during routine medical exams, and many patients only find out they have a problem from someone who shares a room or bed with them. The most common form of the condition, obstructive sleep apnea, causes patients to experience loud snoring, shallow breaths, and sometimes even a pause in breathing, which may end with a gasp or a choking sound. The pauses and shallow breaths can happen up to 100 times in a night, and each one causes the patient to move from deep sleep to light sleep. This lack of quality sleep causes apnea sufferers to feel tired all day and have trouble focusing.

How Sleep Apnea Affects People

Sleep apnea can have many adverse effects on patients, aside from lack of quality rest. Patients may have trouble concentrating and feel extremely tired during the day. Many people experience a rise in their blood pressure. Without treatment, sleep apnea can increase a patient’s risk of heart attack, stroke, and irregular heartbeats. The condition increases the risk for obesity and diabetes, and the lack of quality sleep can lead to accidents at work or while driving.

Treating Sleep Apnea

Once a patient has been diagnosed with sleep apnea, he or she has several options for treatment. A change in your lifestyle can often do the trick. Eating healthy, quitting smoking, and losing weight will all reduce your risk for sleep apnea. Alcohol consumption can cause the muscles to relax, contributing to the airway collapse that causes sleep apnea. Avoiding alcohol consumption before bed can help you avoid the condition.

Many doctors will suggest using a breathing apparatus, called a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure), to keep the air flowing while you sleep. While effective, many patients find the mask worn with these machines uncomfortable, and studies show that a large percentage of patients with CPAP machines stop using them after a short period of time. When all other treatments fail, patients can explore the option of surgery. Weight loss surgeries, surgery to remove tissue from the top of your throat, and surgery that involves moving your forward to open the airway are all possible solutions.

Our doctors recommend the use of oral appliances for our patients who suffer from sleep apnea. The tongue retaining device holds your tongue in the correct position while you sleep, keeping the airway open. The mandibular advancement device looks like a sports mouth guard, and forces the lower jaw down and slightly forward to keep the airway from collapsing. These devices help you keep breathing correctly while you sleep, so you feel refreshed and ready to face the day when you wake.

Call Us Today

To learn more about sleep apnea and how to treat it, or to schedule an appointment with one of our doctors, call our Docklands dental office at (03) 9021-9487 today.