Read our FAQs to learn more about sleep apnea from Manor Park Dental in Ottawa.
Sleep Apnea FAQs
Read the answers to our most frequently asked questions.
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- What is sleep apnea?
When you partially or completely stop breathing during sleep, this is known as sleep apnea.
This serious medical condition causes your body to fight for oxygen, and forces the brain to send signals that wake you up so you can breathe properly again. Sleep apnea is caused by an over-relaxation of your throat muscles.
This blocks your upper airway, preventing the lungs from receiving air. It may also be caused by incorrect brain signals that produce pauses in breathing.
- How is sleep apnea treated?
Sleep apnea may be able to be treated with a combination of lifestyle changes and/or sleep apnea devices such as oral appliances or for severe cases, surgery or a Continous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine.
Oral appliances keep your throat open during the night so your airway does not become obstructed. They can be custom-fitted to ensure comfort. Some are designed to bring your jaw forward so your throat can open. We have a number of devices available at Manor Park Dental.
Moderate to severe cases of sleep apnea may need to be treated with a CPAP machine, which delivers air pressure through a mask as you sleep.
With the machine, the air pressure is slightly greater than that of surrounding air and is sufficient to keep your upper airway passages open, which prevents snoring and apnea.
Surgery can include tissue removal or shrinkage, repositioning of the jaw, implants, or other measures.
For more information about treatment methods, see Sleep Apnea and Sleep Apnea Devices.
- What is obstructive sleep apnea?
This common sleep disorder can cause your throat muscles to relax during sleep and block your airway, causing brief pauses in breathing or shallow breath.
This airway blockage leads to the sound we know as snoring, as the air is squeezed through the more narrow airway. This lack of oxygen to vital organs in the body raises an alarm signal in the brain, which causes your brain to wake your body up by jerking until breathing resumes.
- What types of problems can sleep apnea cause?
Snoring is a well-known sign of obstructive sleep apnea. Though not everyone who snores suffers from sleep apnea, these signs and symptoms may appear:
- Chronic sleepiness throughout the day
- Mood swings or depression
- High blood pressure
- Lack of memory or concentration
- Sore throat or dry mouth when waking
- Why do I wake up exhausted even though I’m getting 8 hours of sleep a night?
If you have sleep apnea, you may wake several times an hour throughout the night. These awakenings are referred to as “micro-arousals” and can last in duration from 1 to 3 seconds.
You’ll have no memory of them, but these micro-arousals are just enough to restore muscle tone to your upper airway, allowing you to breathe.
Unfortunately, these brief waking moments prevent you from getting deep, restful sleep. This issue may be able to be resolved by speaking to your dentist about potentially using an oral appliance or sleep apnea device.