Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that disrupts your breathing while you sleep. Some sleep apnea patients experience periods where their breathing completely stops for short periods of time, while others may experience extremely shallow breathing.
There are two forms of sleep apnea: obstructive and central. Obstructive sleep apnea, the most common form of sleep apnea, occurs when the muscles in the back of your throat relax when they are not supposed to. Central sleep apnea is a more severe form of sleep apnea that occurs when your brain does not send the proper signals to the muscles that control your breathing as you sleep.
Obesity and excessive alcohol consumption are associated with an increased risk of sleep apnea.
Signs & Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
Some of the common warning signs of sleep apnea include:
- Debilitating fatigue or daytime sleepiness
- Waking up throughout the night, insomnia, or difficulty sleeping
- Dry mouth
- Bad breath (halitosis)
- Memory loss, irritability, and difficulty concentrating during the day
Dangers of Sleep Apnea
Sleep is foundational to health. Because sleep apnea disrupts your sleep cycle, you are at higher risk of falling asleep while driving and developing other ailments, such as high blood pressure, anxiety, depression, diabetes, and liver disease. Its side effects can also reduce your quality of life and impair your decision-making during the day.
Sleep Apnea Treatment in Fort Smith, AR
Typically, sleep apnea is treated with CPAP therapy. This involves using a breathing machine to help provide a steady stream of air into your lungs as you sleep, helping you take consistent breaths throughout the night. While CPAP therapy is preferred by some patients, it can be uncomfortable for others, and the machine can cause side effects like sore throat, facial irritation, and bloating.
At Southern Dental Fort Smith, we offer oral appliance therapy to improve your sleep and your overall health. We can create a custom oral appliance for you that looks similar to an sports mouthguard. It will gently reposition your mouth and jaw as you sleep, reducing obstruction of your airways.
Are You Ready to Improve Your Sleep?
Don’t let sleep apnea negatively affect your overall health and wellbeing. Our team at Southern Dental Fort Smith are here to help you rest easy again. Contact us today to schedule a consultation!