Do you regularly “saw logs” in your sleep, as the euphemism goes? In other words, are you a chronic snorer? If your answer is yes, you could be suffering from a condition known as sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is most commonly caused by the tongue or lower jaw blocking the proper flow of air during sleep. Left untreated, sleep apnea can wreak havoc on not just your oral health but your overall health. The good news? Dr. Thomas Frost and the friendly team at Wauwatosa Family Dental can help treat your sleep apnea right away.
Causes, Symptoms and Treatment
Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the lower jaw and tongue become so relaxed during sleep that they collapse into the airway, blocking the proper flow of air throughout the night. Snoring often occurs as a result of this partial or complete obstruction. As the brain struggles to receive enough oxygen, it will send emergency signals that cause the sufferer to wake up. Sleep apnea sufferers may have their sleep interrupted hundreds of times per night. Their partners are often affected, too, whether from the chronic snoring or the disturbance of a frequently waking partner.
The symptoms associated with sleep apnea are strikingly similar to other conditions that cause poor sleep, like depression and anxiety. That’s why sleep apnea is frequently missed or misdiagnosed. Learning more about the symptoms of the condition can help you recognize the problems and find the correct diagnosis—not to mention the much needed sleep relief—sooner.
There are several signs to look for in sleep apnea, including:
- Frequent waking throughout the night, especially when accompanied by a gasping sound or choking sensation
- Loud, chronic snoring
- Dry mouth or sore throat upon waking
- Chronic headaches (especially in the morning)
- Daytime confusion, fatigue, or other symptoms related to low-quality sleep
Don’t wait to seek treatment if you suspect that you or a loved one are suffering from sleep apnea. Left ignored, the condition can lead to a host of greater health problems, including cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, mental health issues, and stroke.
At Wauwatosa Family Dental, Dr. Thomas Frost will evaluate your unique sleep-related issues. He may even recommend a sleep study to determine whether or not you’re truly suffering from sleep apnea. Once you’ve received a proper diagnosis, you have cause to celebrate—this means relief is in sight! Dr. Frost provides customized removable oral devices to help treat sleep apnea. These small mouthpieces work by holding the tongue and lower jaw in place, keeping the airway clear for a full night of uninterrupted sleep.
If you suspect you are suffering from sleep apnea, contact our office today by calling 414-454-0700 with questions or to schedule an appointment. Don’t wait to seek a diagnosis for your disordered sleep. You (and everyone you’re close to) deserve the possibility of a full eight hours of sleep, every single night, snore-free!