One of a child’s most treasured moments is forcing themselves to sleep so that Santa can come to bring them all sorts of presents. This may seem near impossible to a four year old whose parent is snoring so loud you can hear it in the next room. Sleep apnea is not only disruptive to your health, but can seriously impact the lives of those who surround you. Here are a few ways to ease your breathing and allow everyone to have a full night’s sleep so Santa can make his timely visit.
Implement a Self Test
If you aren’t sure if you have sleep apnea, there are a few ways to test yourself while sleeping to confirm your condition before visiting the doctor or dentist. The first test, ask your partner. They probably know if you have sleep apnea, because you wake them up. Every. Single. Night. If you sleep with someone and they have made a complaint, ask them to listen carefully for the next few nights to see if there is a long pause when you seemingly stop breathing before snoring again. If you sleep alone, you can record yourself sleeping to study your breathing patterns. There are also a few online tests that can help you assess your sleeping habits.
Visit a Physician
Once you have confirmed your sleep apnea, it is vital that you visit your doctor for a professional assessment. Many times you will be referred to a lab that conducts sleep studies where you will stay for typically one night for a final sleep analysis and confirmation. For extreme conditions, you may be prescribed a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machine (CPAP) which keeps your throat and lungs open while you sleep. For less life threatening cases, you will be referred to your dentist for a more minor treatment.
Dental Treatments for Sleep Apnea
Even if your sleep apnea is labeled as mild or moderate, you probably want to find an alternative treatment, at least for the sake of your family’s sleeping habits. There are two main dental treatments for sleep apnea that are virtually painless and create a more peaceful sleeping environment while maintaining your health.
An MAD is the most common form of treatment for sleep apnea patients. It’s like having head gear inside your mouth, the top and bottom mouth guards are attached by metal hinges that keep your lower jaw forward. This keeps your airway open and avoids total relaxation of your jaw which can block the airway. Increasing the muscle activity in your sleep also strengthens the jaw in hopes of training it to stay forward on its own.
Tongue Retaining Device
TRDs have a similar outcome but focus more on the tongue than the jaw. It pins the tongue down to keep it firmly in place instead of settling at the back of the throat, causing an obstruction of your airway. Both TRDs and MADs are known to be uncomfortable for at least the first six months, but the effects outweigh the benefits as your health and your family’s sleeping patterns will positively increase dramatically.
Sleep apnea is a problem that affects you and everyone around you. Santa is watching and he knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be a good family member and get your snoring taken care of. If you are in need of a dental treatment for sleep apnea, contact A Beautiful Smile at Lake Pointe in Houston, Texas to set up an appointment.