- December 1, 2015
Louisiana residents have a lot of trouble sleeping.
Roughly one-third of Pelican State citizens reported that they had trouble sleeping during 14 nights the previous month, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
No single factor can account for each individual’s sleeping problem, but one of the most common sleep disorders in the United States is sleep apnea.
An estimated 22 million Americans have some form of sleep apnea, according to the American Sleep Apnea Association. The most common form is obstructive sleep apnea.
And the adult obesity rate in Louisiana has risen from 12.3 percent in 1991 to 33.1 percent as of 2014. Coincidentally, there is a correlation between obesity and sleep apnea.
This all points toward the fact the sleep apnea is common in Louisiana. With that in mind, you can get help. The dental staff at the Donaldson 3D Orthodontics offices in New Iberia and Broussard have ways to help patients who are suffering with sleep apnea.
If you have a spouse or significant other who complains about your snoring constantly, you should take that as a warning sign. Loud, persistent snoring may be the most common symptom of sleep apnea, and of obstructive sleep apnea in particular.
Apnea comes from a Greek word that means “without breath.” This is an apt description, since people with sleep apnea stop breathing frequently in their sleep.
For people with obstructive sleep apnea, this is because their airways are blocked when they are asleep. If you have this condition, the muscles around your airway relax while you are sleeping. This blocks your airway, which leads to your snoring.
If your airway is too restricted, you will stop breathing completely. Your body will respond by waking you up briefly, which opens your airway again. You may not remember it, but you could be waking up multiple times every hour.
This also means you are not getting deep, quality sleep, which leaves you feeling sleep deprived. Sleep deprivation is the reason you may be suffering any of the following symptoms:
- Frequent daytime sleepiness
- Trouble staying focused at work or at school
- Anxiety and irritability
As we mentioned earlier, obstructive sleep apnea and obesity are linked, but that is just one health risk that rises when you have OSA. You also may be at higher risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.
Sleep apnea solutions
The dentist may not be the first person you think of when you are looking for a solution to your sleep apnea. Honestly, the most widely recommended sleep apnea solution starts somewhere else.
CPAP machines are the most common treatment for sleep apnea. CPAP is an abbreviation for continuous position airway pressure.
CPAP users wear a mask over their faces as they sleep. Some masks cover the user’s mouth and nose; other masks only cover the nose. In either case, the CPAP blows air into the user’s airways. This keeps their airways open so they can breathe more easily while they sleep.
Unfortunately for many of those users, the CPAP machine creates new problems. Some people find the masks uncomfortable to wear. Some find that the masks irritate their faces. Some just refuse to wear the masks, which means they aren’t really treating their sleep apnea symptoms.
For those patients, dentists — like Donaldson 3D Orthodontics in New Iberia — offer another solution. We can create a mouthpiece that sleep apnea sufferers can wear instead of a mask. This is known as a Moses appliance.
The Moses works by changing the position of your jaw while you sleep. This change in position prevents the muscles around your airway from relaxing. That keeps your airways open, which means you keep breathing in your sleep.
Each Moses appliance is created by making a digital impression of your teeth. This means it is custom-fitted to your mouth, making it more comfortable for you to wear.
In some cases, the best sleep apnea solution is stopping it before it starts. For some patients removing the tonsils and adenoids will widen their airways and may eliminate the need for a CPAP or Moses appliance altogether.
If you have been living with sleep apnea, it’s time that you did something for the sake of your health. If you are living with someone who has sleep apnea, you probably would like to be able to sleep easier, too.
If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, talk to the staff at Donaldson 3D Orthodontics in New Iberia or Broussard about preventive steps we can take or about our mouthpiece.
Sleep better in 2016. Call our office at 337-465-4139 or fill out our online form to make your appointment.