If you are like many Americans, you’ve experienced headaches at some point in your life. In addition to that, many people will also battle with snoring. What you may not have known is that these conditions could actually be linked. Snoring and headaches could be a sign of sleep apnea and it could be the cause of your jaw pain.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that causes a person to stop breathing for a period of time during sleep. When you cease breathing for any amount of time, you are depriving your body and brain of the oxygen it needs to operate properly. Those who suffer from sleep apnea can have this happening up to hundreds of time during just one sleep cycle.
There are two primary causes of sleep apnea. First, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), is caused when the airway becomes blocked due to soft tissues collapsing in the back of the throat. Another cause, though less common, is called central sleep apnea and occurs when the brain doesn’t send the proper breathing signals to the muscles.
Only people suffering from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), can find relief with the help of their dentist.
How Can Dentistry Fix Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)?
It is possible to treat sleep apnea in a number of ways. Here are a few to talk to your dentist about:
- Mouthguard designed specifically for sleep apnea snoring
- Surgery to the jaw
- Invisalign to realign teeth
You might be shocked to realize that straightening of your teeth with Invisalign could actually treat sleep apnea, but it’s true! If your teeth are out of place, the jaw might not sit where it should. This contributes to the collapse of soft tissues in the back of the throat. This treatment will not work for everyone, but it is a great place to start. You may find that your situation requires a more aggressive approach. At worst, Invisalign will leave you with a more beautiful smile than you had before.
Some alternative options include:
- Positive airway pressure devices
- Stimulation therapy to your upper airway
- Losing weight
If you are one of the many people suffering from sleep apnea, schedule an appointment today with Dr. Welch, your dentist nearby Daleville, IN. They will provide you with a full mouth exam and order a sleep study for you to get you moving on the path to recovery.