Sleep Apnea

Sleep Apnea Treatment St. Joseph, MO

Snoring is a nuisance. It can push loved ones out of bed and rouse us from sleep. But this funny noise may also have indications of something with more profound implications. Snoring is the sound produced from vibrations in the respiratory airways with the blockage of air. The vibrations and noise can be loud and harsh, or it can be relatively quiet and soft. Either way, it can mean a concerning symptom of blocked air that isn’t able to make its way freely into your lungs while you sleep. These blockages may be part of a start and stop breathing issue called Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Sleep Apnea is when the body stops regular breathing patterns for ten seconds or more. 


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If bodies consistently fall into states of sleep apnea, it ends up affecting other parts of your wellbeing. When our bodies have repeated episodes of sleep apnea in the night, it can occur a few times or a few hundred. The breathing patterns in sleep apnea can contribute to less oxygen and therefore lowers the oxygen saturation levels in our blood. Saturation levels keep our oxygen moving throughout the body and promptly supply the body’s needs. When oxygen levels dip too low, it reduces the quality of sleep. We need good sleep to restore our bodies at night. Sleep apnea can disrupt the quality and length of REM achieved at night. People not getting enough oxygen in their sleep can feel groggy and tired the next day. Sleep apnea can also negatively impact moods and stability by contributing to weight gain, memory issues, headaches, irritability, and depression.

In recent visits to dentists, you may have been asked to fit yourself with a machine at night to be screened for sleep apnea. Dentists are very familiar with the shape and feel of a mouth and are therefore well-positioned to help diagnose and help patients with sleep apnea. Dentists can provide guidance on how to improve the airflow and make recommendations for improving sleep. These suggestions include simple tasks such as trying different sleep positions and losing weight. 

Other measures to address sleep apnea may include the use of a CPAP machine or an oral appliance to change the shape of your mouth. An oral appliance is a custom-fitted mouthpiece that is similar to a sports guard or a retainer. These pieces are fit into the mouth to help keep the jaw in an optimal position during sleep. The oral appliance is only worn while sleeping. It also keeps the upper airway passage open to provide better breathing. This means less snoring, less chance of disruptive airways, and better oxygen levels to the body while at rest.

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