What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a potentially life-threatening sleep disorder. A person suffering from this sleep disorder stops and starts breathing repeatedly, hundreds of times while sleeping. Their breathing can stop for 10 seconds or longer! Even mild sleep apnea should not go untreated. This sleep disorder prevents enough oxygen from getting to the brain and the rest of the body.
There are two types:
- Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)
- Central sleep apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea is more common than central sleep apnea. When the soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses during sleep, the airway is obstructed.
Central sleep apnea occurs when a person’s brain fails to signal the muscles to breathe. Instability in a person’s respiratory control center causes breathing to stop and start during sleep.
What risk factors increase the likelihood of developing this sleep disorder?
How would a person know if he or she has this sleep disorder?
How does a person treat this sleep disorder?
A dentist may refer their patient to a doctor of sleep medicine for a sleep study. Sherwood Dental dentists refer our patients to Synergy Wellness Centre for free sleep studies.
If a sleep test proves a patient is suffering from sleep apnea, more sleep testing may be needed. Further studies can help determine the best treatment option. Depending on the severity of the sleep disorder, a dentist can offer the following solutions: