You wake up in the morning still feeling tired. You find it hard to concentrate at work; sometimes you notice you have poor memory. You know you don’t sleep well, you have breathing problems and you know you snore. If this is you, maybe you should see a dentist.
A dentist for sleep problems?
It’s not as crazy as it sounds. If you’re always tired even though you seems to get enough hours of sleep, you could have sleep apnea. While it’s not related to your teeth, this condition is related to your mouth and your throat.
Sleep apnea is a relatively common problem that occurs when tissue in the throat collapses while you sleep, blocking the flow of air. People with sleep apnea literally stop breathing many times during the night. This causes them to wake up briefly, so briefly that they don’t even know they’re waking up.
This can happens hundreds of times during the night, stopping you from reaching the deep, restful sleep state you need to recharge adequately. The the result is waking up in the morning feeling tired even though you think you slept soundly.
Diagnosing sleep apnea
Sleep disorders must be diagnosed by a doctor. If you suspect that you may have sleep apnea or another sleep disorder, the doctor will probably recommend that you undergo a sleep study. He or she will make their diagnosis based on the results of that.
How is sleep apnea treated?
Sleep apnea is typically treated by the wearing of a mask that’s attached to a forced air machine. This is called CPAP – continuous positive airway pressure. While an effective treatment, these devices are cumbersome, and many people who have been diagnosed with sleep apnea have trouble using them.
When to call the dentist
There may be another solution as close as your dentist’s office. A sleep orthotic custom made by your dentist that you wear in your mouth while you sleep, can help keep your jaws positioned correctly so you can breathe freely.
If you are diagnosed with sleep apnea but you don’t like the idea of using a CPAP machine and mask, or if you’ve tried it and it’s not comfortable for you, you can make an appointment with the dentist to discuss a sleep orthotic.