Trouble Sleeping and Want a Good Night Rest?

Sleep Apnea Treatments in Sherwood Park

Do you or your partner suffer from chronic tiredness upon waking? Are one of you complaining of snoring by the other? Does your partner stop breathing for too long between breaths while sleeping? If so, this can be a sign of sleep apnea.

Apnea is another word for breathing interruption. Sleep apnea, then, refers to the interruption of breathing while asleep. This takes one of two forms: either central or obstructive. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the tissues along the airway collapse during sleep, resulting in an obstruction of the airway. Without the ability for air to pass freely in and out of the lungs, breathing stops. Central apnea occurs when the signals that should be sent to the brain to incite a breath are not sent. The apnea results due to a lack of communication between the brain and nervous system and not from a tissue obstruction.

What are the Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?

The list of symptoms that can be associated with the onset of sleep apnea are many. There are both acute and cumulative impacts on the whole-body system when sleep apnea has developed. Waking in the morning you may feel far more tired than you feel you ‘should’, given the number of hours you were at rest. You may wake with a headache or a dry and sore throat due to deep and prolonged snoring. Although you will feel most tired in the morning, you will likely feel tired throughout your daily activities. Since sleep apnea disrupts your sleep repeatedly, you may think you are getting more rest than you are.

Since many of our body’s regenerative processes are conducted when we are in a deep sleep or REM state, the result of chronic sleep interruptions over a period of time are cumulative in apnea sufferers and can have serious impact on lifestyle and social interactions. Since our ability to regulate our emotions and our mood is decreased when we have not had proper rest, our relationships can become strained when sleep apnea has been playing a role.

Patients with sleep apnea are more likely to have increased blood pressure, heart disease and even diabetes. A study of Canadian sleep apnea sufferers has also concluded that the risk of developing stroke or obesity is increased with sleep apnea.


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What Can Be Done?

There are several treatments available to treat sleep apnea, including oral appliances and breathing machines. Although the use of CPAP (Continuous Positive Air Pressure) machines can be effective for maintaining an open airway at night, it represents significantly more cost and maintenance than their alternative – oral appliances.

Mandibular advancement devices are custom fit appliances that serve to push the lower jaw further forward to tighten the collapsed muscles of the back of the throat. With more tension on the muscles and tissues, they are unable to collapse and therefore the airway is maintained.

Tongue retaining devices are less popular but may also work to effectively maintain the airway by holding the tongue down to open it. Used for the long-term, these appliances can help develop the necessary muscles associated with the airway and decrease the need for oral interventions. Although there are still costs associated with oral appliances, they are significantly less than the cost of a CPAP machine and do not require maintenance beyond gentle daily cleaning.

Where to Start

If you think you may be suffering from sleep apnea and have a sleep partner, begin by asking your partner if you have displayed symptoms . You may want to journal your rest periods each day and how you are feeling when you wake. This will help you and your dentist have a conversation about the severity and duration of your symptoms.

Make sure that you are using good sleep hygiene habits to promote effective rest. Go to sleep and wake up at roughly the same time each day, do not eat before going to bed and turn off all electronic devices and screens a minimum of half an hour prior to going to bed to help your brain switch into rest mode. Ensurre that the room you sleep in is devoid of too much natural light and switch off or turn away digital displays.

Your dentist or doctor will likely begin the process of investigating the cause of your tiredness by performing a sleep study. You may be asked to take a device home to sleep with while it records your sleep patterns, or, you may be asked to attend a clinical study where you will sleep at a sleep clinic while they monitor your sleep quality and patterns.

Only a medical professional can accurately diagnose sleep apnea. For more information about this or other services offered by our general dentists, contact our clinic today.

Acacia Dental

Dental Services Provided at Acacia Dental

We are a full service dental clinic in Sherwood Park, with services ranging from regular check ups & cleanings to fillings to braces & Invisalign. All services provided by a general dentist.