Sleep apnea is about much more than just snoring. Regular nights of restless sleep (for you and your bed partner) can actually be a sign of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), a condition that affects over 20 million Americans every year. OSA can lead not only to poor sleep and distraction, but also more serious illnesses and chronic complications.

Sleep Apnea occurs when a person experiences one or more periods a night where they actually stop breathing during sleep. If it’s Obstructive Sleep Apnea, it may be caused by the tissue at the back of the throat sliding down and blocking the airway, which reduces the amount of oxygen that is delivered to all of your vital organs, including your brain and your heart. Many bed partners report that the person may snore loudly, then stop breathing and appear to quickly wake themselves up. This may happen hundreds of times per night without the person even knowing it’s happening.

Sleep Apnea not only leads to a feeling of being fatigued and distracted, it can ultimately lead to much more complicated disorders such as:

Heart Attacks, Strokes, Diabetes, Irregular Heartbeat, and also contributes to memory loss, daytime sleepiness, and impaired driving accidents.

Your Chicago Heights and Highland Park dental offices can help to uncover your symptoms and diagnose sleep apnea appropriately. Many times, patients can find relief using a simple oral appliance called a Narval – it’s similar to a night-time mouthguard, but actually forces the lower jaw slightly forward during sleep, preventing the airway from becoming obstructed.  If needed, an alternative treatment method is a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine, which uses a mask to help maintain the flow of oxygen throughout the night.

Oftentimes, sleep apnea occurs in conjunction with TMD / TMJ issues. If this is the case, your dentist may recommend a more comprehensive treatment plan that will also treat the TMJ symptoms and the relaxation of the jaw muscles for more comfortable sleep.

Regular medical insurance often covers a number of sleep apnea treatments. The staff at The Smile Group will work with you to determine the best course of action with regard to your financial options. Call The Smile Group today to schedule a consultation to find the best solution to help you SLEEP and LIVE better.