Snoring is no joke. That horrible noise that comes from your throat when you sleep can be a symptom of a life-threatening condition called sleep apnea.
The dental professionals at Livonia Family Smiles can help relieve your sleep apnea and protect you from dangerous health conditions. Here’s how we can help.
When snoring sounds an alarm
Snoring is more than annoying; it’s alarming.
Snoring is the most obvious and common symptom of sleep apnea, a sleep disorder where you stop breathing for brief periods during sleep.
Other sleep apnea symptoms include:
- Gasping for air during sleep
- Dry mouth upon awakening
- Morning headaches
- Trouble staying asleep
- Daytime sleepiness
- Attention problems
There’s more than one kind of sleep apnea
There are three types of sleep apnea: obstructive, central, and complex.
Obstructive sleep apnea
This is the most common type of sleep apnea where your airway is temporarily blocked, usually by the soft tissue at the back of your throat. Obstructive sleep apnea can worsen high blood pressure and contribute to heart disease, diabetes, and other health conditions.
Central sleep apnea
Central sleep apnea originates in the central nervous system and is usually associated with an underlying health problem, like heart disease.
Complex sleep apnea
Here, you suffer from both obstructive and central sleep apnea.
Are you at risk for sleep apnea?
Anyone can have sleep apnea, but certain factors put you more at risk, including:
- Thick neck, which narrow airways
- Narrow throat
- Enlarged tonsils or adenoids
- Being male
- Family history (if your parent has sleep apnea, you’re more likely to have it, too)
- Use of sedatives
- Use of tranquilizers
- Drinking alcohol
- Stuffed nose
- Heart disorders
How a dentist can help your sleep apnea
Snoring may not seem like a dental problem, but dentists can help.
We’ll perform an oral exam and look for sleep apnea indicators, like ground down and cracked teeth. Also, people with obstructive sleep apnea often breathe with their mouths open, which can cause cavities and enamel erosion.
If your obstructive sleep apnea is a soft tissue issue, you may be a good candidate for a specially designed dental appliance that can help prevent the tissue in the back of your throat from blocking your airways.
We can also recommend a CPAP machine, which helps open your airways as you sleep.
If your snoring makes you think you have sleep apnea, we can help. Call our office at 734-525-6100, or book an appointment online.