Does your snoring ever wake you up? Loud, intense snoring is a hallmark of sleep apnea, but it’s not the only sign. Daytime sleepiness, morning headaches, and waking up throughout the night are also signs of sleep apnea.
At The Woodlands Dental Group in The Woodlands, Texas, David Epstein, DDS, and Nikita Vakil, DMD, and our team understand that sleep apnea is a major nuisance, but we also know that untreated sleep apnea can negatively impact your overall health.
If you struggle to get a good night’s sleep, we can give you a thorough examination. And if we find that you have sleep apnea, we can help you find a solution. In this blog, we discuss some of the most effective solutions for sleep apnea, including oral devices.
Do you have sleep apnea?
The first step in getting relief is to make sure that your symptoms are caused by sleep apnea. Headaches, for example, can be attributed to other causes, such as pinched nerves and even jaw disorders.
As a certified DreamSleep® provider, we can screen for sleep apnea. If recommended, a home sleep study can confirm that your snoring, gasping, or morning headaches are caused by obstructive sleep apnea, the most common type of sleep apnea. With obstructive sleep apnea, tissues in your mouth or throat block your airways.
Treating sleep apnea
Once your sleep apnea is confirmed, it’s time to explore your options.
Airway pressure machines
Positive airway pressure machines are a common treatment for both moderate and severe sleep apnea. The machines produce a continuous stream of air that goes to a mask that you put on your face, and the air keeps you passageways open while you sleep.
The most well-known positive airway machine is called a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine, but it’s not the only one. According to the American Sleep Apnea Association, airway machines come in a variety of types. Unfortunately, some users report that the masks can be uncomfortable and difficult to keep clean, and some machines can generate a lot of noise.
There are many oral appliances for the treatment of sleep apnea. In fact, there are more than 100 devices approved by the The Food and Drug Administration. Oral devices can vary, but the goal is the same: to hold the jaw in the correct position to limit airway obstructions.
At The Woodlands Dental Group, we offer mandibular repositioning devices (MRDs), which you insert before going to bed. The device reduces obstructions by pushing your jaw and tongue forward.
There are many benefits to using an oral device, including the following:
- Easy to use
- Easier to clean that CPAP parts
- Convenient, especially when traveling
The biggest benefit is that oral devices are safe, effective, and they can help reduce your risk of serious sleep apnea complications.
In addition to oral appliances and airway pressure machines, you can also try lifestyle changes. Examples of lifestyle changes that may reduce sleep apnea symptoms include:
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Exercising at least 30 minutes a day
- Sleeping on your side
- Avoiding alcohol and smoking, which can worsen symptoms
Do note that even if you incorporate some of these lifestyle changes, you may still need to wear an oral appliance or use an airway machine. Don’t stop using an oral appliance or airway machine unless directed to do so.
If you struggle with intense snoring or morning headaches, don’t brush off your symptoms. We can see if you have sleep apnea and help put you on the path to restful sleep. To learn more, book an appointment over the phone with The Woodlands Dental Group today.