Maybe you wake up often with your spouse or partner poking you because you are snoring so loud that he or she can’t fall asleep.
Maybe you notice your spouse or partner is grouchy in the morning after another bad night of sleep because “somebody’s snoring” kept them awake.
Or maybe you are the one who is irritable because you still feel tired in the morning.
If any of that seems familiar, it could be a sign that you have sleep apnea. According to expert estimates, as many as 1 in 15 people in the United States have some form of sleep apnea. And many of them have never been diagnosed.
Fortunately, our dentist office in Plano, TX, may be able to help. We will explain how in a moment.
How a Dentist Can Help With Sleep Apnea
We understand why you may wonder how a dentist could help with a sleep apnea disorder like sleep apnea. Dr. Barfield works with a specialist who can assess your symptoms and determine if you should undergo a sleep test.
This test will measure how often you stop breathing when you fall asleep. Someone with sleep apnea can stop breathing from four times per hour (in mild cases of sleep apnea) to more than 30 times per hour (in severe cases).
The most common type of this condition is called obstructive sleep apnea. This often is the result of soft tissues relaxing and putting pressure on your airways.
This can narrow your airways, which also amplifies the sound of your snoring. (The same snoring your spouse or partner may have mentioned more than once.)
When your airways are completely blocked, you can stop breathing for up to 30 seconds before your body does something about it. Specifically, your body wakes you up just long enough to take a few breaths.
Often this is so brief that you have no memory of it happening.
To help you stay asleep (and snore less), Dr. Barfield can help design an oral appliance for you at our dentist office in Plano, TX.
The appliance works by pulling your jaw forward slightly. This can help your airways stay open so you can stay asleep longer.
If you would like to find out if you might have sleep apnea, start by calling us at 972-380-8105 to make an appointment.
Sleep Apnea Affects More Than Your Sleep
If you aren’t getting healthy sleep, then it can affect you in other ways as well.
People with sleep apnea are more likely to have other health issues as well.
Each time you stop breathing, your body is fighting to keep you alive. Studies like this one have found a connection between sleep apnea and stress hormones.
This can help explain why people with sleep apnea are more likely to have high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, and strokes.
It does not explain another reality about untreated sleep apnea, however. People with sleep apnea are more than twice as likely as other people to be involved in car accidents.
This is because of another common symptom of sleep apnea — sleep deprivation.
When you are constantly waking up, you are resetting your sleep cycle over and over again.
As a result, you aren’t getting the deep sleep that many experts consider essential for overall health. In everyday life, this shows up as daytime sleepiness.
In many cases, this is relatively harmless. If you fall asleep watching a movie or a sporting event, you may brush it off as no big deal.
If you find yourself dozing off at work, it can be embarrassing. It also may explain why you frequently seek out caffeine to get through the afternoon.
But you fall asleep behind the wheel, that’s when things become dangerous for you and for the people around you.
If any of this sounds familiar, please contact our dentist if you live in or near Plano, TX, to find out if we could help.
We Want You to Sleep Better
Everyone snores sometimes, but people with obstructive sleep apnea are more likely to snore — loudly and constantly — almost every time they fall asleep.