Sleep apnea is a very serious and potentially fatal sleep disorder. It occurs when breathing is interrupted while you sleep. Loud snoring is often a common symptom of sleep apnea. A few other signs that you may have sleep apnea include:
- Extended breaks in breathing patterns during sleep
- Gasping or choking during sleep
- Sleepiness during typical waking hours
- Sudden awakenings during the night
Keep in mind that one of the tricky things about sleep apnea is the fact that you may never know you have it until someone else alerts you to it.
Several things may cause sleep apnea. Some of the most common causes include:
- Abnormally large tonsils, adenoids, or tongue
- Deviated septum, head and neck shape
- Chronic nasal congestion due to allergies, sinus problems, or smoking
- Alcohol or sedative use
There are many minor lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your sleep apnea. Sleeping on your side helps, as does abstaining from alcohol, tobacco, and sedatives. Elevating the head of your bed a few inches and keeping regular sleep hours can also help. Breathing strips are also available over the counter to help keep your nasal passages clear.
At the Center for Exceptional Dentistry, we offer a few treatment options for those with more severe sleep apnea problems:
SomnoMed oral appliance – Wearing this custom-fit mouth appliance while you sleep will keep your mouth open and help maintain airflow. Over 90% of SomnoMed patients report significant improvements in sleep quality and reduced snoring with this appliance.
Herbst appliance – This traditional orthodontic appliance can be modified to do what the SomnoMed appliance does. Dr. Firouzi will be able to tell you which of these appliances will be right for you.
If you live in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area and suffer from sleep apnea or excessive snoring, we can help. Please contact Pittsburgh sleep apnea dentist Dr. Babak Firouzi at the Center for Aesthetic Dentistry today to schedule your complimentary consultation.