Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common type of sleep apnea disorder. It occurs when your breathing is blocked for seconds on end. All it takes is 10-20 seconds of holding your breath before your brain starts to panic.
In response, your body may jerk awake without your remembering it. While you may not realize that this is happening at the time, your body will continue to suffer the effects of not getting restful sleep. Once the morning comes around, you wake up tired and exhausted, even though you went to bed at a reasonable hour and think you should have gotten a good night’s rest.
What Causes Your Breathing to be Blocked?
As the OSA label implies, your airway can be temporarily obstructed by soft tissues in your throat when your jaw and neck muscles relax at night. When air tries to force its way through the narrow space, the sound comes out as a snore.
Not all snoring is the result of sleep apnea. OSA is identified by a particularly loud snore that is occasionally interrupted by periods of silence when the breathing passages are fully blocked.
So how do you know whether you suffer from OSA if it only happens while you’re asleep?
Here are the most common signs of obstructive sleep apnea:
- Sore throat in the morning
- Dry mouth when you wake up
- Chest pain
- Mood instability
- Difficulty falling asleep or restless sleeping
- Periods of not breathing while you’re sleeping (often reported by your sleep partner)
Obstructive sleep apnea can affect your energy levels and performance throughout the day. You may have difficulty concentrating and find yourself nodding off at inopportune times. OSA is even implicated in other serious health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, and depression.
Dry mouth and stress associated with this condition could also spell danger to your smile.
Can You Get Help Without a CPAP?
Fortunately, Shoreline Dental Care offers solutions to sleep apnea. Treatments include a variety of devices and therapies aimed at keeping your jaw from sliding back and closing off your windpipe.
Of course, we’ll also offer you some practical information for protecting your smile!
If you think you might suffer from OSA, contact our team at either our West Haven or Milford locations to schedule an evaluation.