How are you resting these days? Curiosity about your sleep might seem like a strange question coming from a dentist, but the reality is that the person who takes care of your teeth and gums may just be the key to a better – and safer – night’s sleep. Your dentist, in fact, is often one of the first people to diagnose a sleep apnea problem.
Understanding Sleep Apnea
March is National Sleep Awareness Month and this is an opportunity to reflect on the quality of sleep you’re getting, and the reason behind why you might not be getting enough. If you never feel rested, have a snoring problem, or wake up at night feeling like you’re gagging or choking, you could suffer from obstructive sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is a chronic, serious health condition. Pauses in breathing or shallow breathing can last for seconds or up to a few minutes. This disruption often jars people out of a deep sleep, but it may not always wake you into full consciousness which is why some people do not realize they have sleep apnea.
While the physical obstruction of your breathing is a problem, there is also the secondary problem of being moved into a lighter sleep that interferes with your ability to stay in REM state. You’re then left with mediocre sleep instead of quality sleep, and never feel fully rested.
How Your Red Bank Dentist Can Help with Sleep Apnea
There are several ways to treat sleep apnea. Your Red Bank family dentist, should she determine you are a qualified candidate, is most likely to prescribe an oral appliance that helps restore normal breathing patterns and maintain this effort during sleep.
Sleep apnea mouth guards simply click into your mouth like a night guard – though they look different – and are customized to fit over both upper and lower teeth. The goal is to realign the position of the tongue and jaw to keep the airway open.
Remember, if you suffer from loud, heavy snoring (just ask your partner), feel tired during the day, or have restless sleep at night, sleep apnea could be the culprit. Still not convinced, and still don’t want to see your Red Bank family dentist? Sleep apnea is even more likely if you have other symptoms like headaches, mood changes, decreased sex drive, trouble concentrating, unexplained weight gain, frequent heartburn, and more.
Protect Your Oral Health and Overall Well-Being
Sure, we’re all tired. Plus, we’re all living through a pandemic and feeling varying levels of stress. Sometimes, no matter how exhausted we are, we still don’t sleep well. But there is a difference between sleep apnea and interrupted sleep because of worry or anxiety.
Sleep is critical for your body and overall well-being. We need it for quality brain function, for boosted energy levels, hormonal balance, and the body’s ability to repair and rejuvenate itself. If you suspect that you are suffering from obstructive sleep apnea, schedule an appointment with Red Bank dentist Dr. Carole Sherrod Jewell or Dr. Pauline Robinson. Find out once and for all what’s going on with your sleep and if a customized oral appliance can help you achieve a good night of rest every night.