Nothing makes a day more difficult than a poor night’s rest. If you’re having trouble with snoring or feeling exhausted even after a full 8 hours of sleep, you may have a common, but serious, condition called sleep apnea. Sleep apnea happens when the tissue at the back of the throat collapses during sleep, blocking your airway and interrupting your breathing. The lack of oxygen can wake you up several times during the night (though you may not even realize it) and rob you of the full, healthy rest you need.
But who can get sleep apnea?
In short: everyone. However, there are some things that can make you more susceptible to this condition. We’ll walk you through those factors as well as dispel a few popular myths and misconceptions. Complete the form below to schedule your appointment with Dr. Mullins
Who Can Get Sleep Apnea
You may already have some preconceived notions about what causes sleep apnea. But do these myths hold up? Let’s explore:
- Myth #1: Only overweight people can get sleep apnea.
- Reality: It’s true that increased fat in the neck area can constrict your airflow and cause collapsing in the back of the throat, leading to apnea. But while weight can certainly be a contributing factor, even people who aren’t overweight often suffer from the disorder.
- Myth #2: If I avoid drugs and alcohol, I can avoid sleep apnea.
- Reality: Substances with a tranquilizing effect, like alcohol or certain drugs, can cause the muscles in your throat to relax too much. However, a family history could also be causing your interrupted sleep, regardless of substance or medication use.
- Myth #3: Only adults have sleep apnea.
- Reality: Unfortunately, adults aren’t the only people who can get sleep apnea. Overweight children are more susceptible, but smaller children are not immune. Enlarged tonsil tissue in the back of the throat can obstruct airways, leading to collapse and obstructed breathing during sleep.
How to Treat Sleep Apnea
Aside from the effect on your sleeping habits, apnea can often cause damage to your oral health. All the more reason to treat this condition as soon as possible. We find that custom snoring therapy appliances help patients breathe more easily during sleep as well as protect their teeth and gums.
At My Family Dentistry, Dr. Wes can prescribe sleep apnea devices that help alleviate its symptoms. Sleep apnea devices tend to fall into two main groups: those that readjust tongue position, and those that adjust lower jaw position. The FDA-approved Dental Crafters’ Intraoral Snoring Therapy (IST) Appliance falls into the second category. The 2-piece acrylic arch system is custom-fitted to your mouth, so you sleep comfortably all night.
The IST can significantly improve or even eliminate symptoms. By repositioning the jaw and/or tongue, this device removes the blockage in your airways during sleep and allows more air into your lungs. Better yet, it doesn’t put any additional pressure on your face while you sleep. It’s the gold standard for safe, effective comfortable sleep apnea devices, and it’s available to you through My Family Dentistry.