Sleep Apnea: Signs to Watch For

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

At Eggert Family Dentistry, we know that sleep apnea is no laughing matter. It can go undetected for years and has serious side effects. Take a few minutes to consider the warning signs, when to discuss signs with us or your doctor and some effective treatment options to consider.

What is obstructive sleep apnea?

Obstructive sleep apnea is an intermittent blocking of the airway during sleep. This often occurs when the muscles in the back of the throat relax too much, causing soft tissue to collapse into the airway and resulting in partial or complete blockage.

When obstructive sleep apnea occurs, breathing can be restricted for 10+ seconds, decreasing oxygen to your brain and causing a buildup of carbon dioxide. This cycle of airway blockage can repeat many times a night, leading to fitful sleep and many serious side effects. Side effects include glaucoma, increased blood pressure, heart disease and unfortunately, even death.

What signs should I watch for that may indicate sleep apnea?

You or your loved one may be battling sleep apnea if the following signs are present:

  • Loud snoring
  • Night sweats
  • Extreme daytime fatigue
  • Gasping or choking upon awakening
  • Dry mouth or sore throat upon awakening
  • Reduced daytime concentration
  • Mood swings and irritability

The symptoms of pediatric sleep apnea can be very different from sleep apnea symptoms in adults. Learn more here.

When to see your dentist or doctor

If you’re experiencing any signs of sleep apnea, it’s important to make an appointment with Dr. Elizabeth Eggert or Dr. Jeff Eggert and with your primary doctor. While there can be other causes behind some of these signs, obstructive sleep apnea is a common and serious condition. If, upon evaluation, we think you might be struggling with sleep apnea, you may find success with one of these treatment options: CPAP or Oral Appliance Therapy.

CPAP: A mask that covers the nose and/or mouth, connected to a tube and machine, that delivers continuous air pressure all night long, allowing the airway to remain open.

Oral Appliance Therapy: A custom-fit mouthguard that keeps the airway open by supporting the jaw in a forward position. This is something that Dr. Elizabeth and Dr. Jeff can fit you for in our office.

To learn more about obstructive sleep apnea, check out our Sleep Apnea FAQ’s.

You’re in good hands at Eggert Family Dentistry! If you are concerned that you or a loved one may be struggling with sleep apnea, schedule an evaluation with us at 651.482.8412.

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