Sometimes snoring is just a harmless habit. Other times, it can be a sign of sleep apnea in Plano. Only a healthcare professional can say for sure. Scheduling an appointment with your dentist will allow him or her to perform a complete oral and throat examination. If apnea is suspected, then the next step is to conduct a formal sleep study.
When Snoring Is More than Just Snoring
Most of us snore, whether we realize it or not. Light snoring is usually nothing more than a minor habit that may cause our partner some degree of annoyance. Other times, however, it’s a sign of a serious problem, especially when accompanied by the following warning signs:
- Daytime drowsiness. If your partner struggles to stay awake throughout the day, then sleep apnea is a likely cause.
- Waking frequently during the night. Your partner may or may not be aware of this tendency. Either way, it’s a symptom that something is wrong.
- Snoring that is loud or continuous. If the sound seems to shake the rafters, then there is cause for concern.
- Depression, anxiety, or difficulty concentrating. If your partner suffers from any of these problems, then apnea may be to blame.
How Your Dentist Can Help
As experts in the human throat and mouth, dentists are often the first healthcare professionals to notice cases of apnea. Your dentist will examine your partner’s throat for possible causes of airway constriction, such as enlarged adenoids or loose airway tissues.
If apnea is likely, then the next step is to schedule a formal sleep study. Your partner will spend the night in a comfortable residential-style setting under the watchful eye of trained specialists. They will monitor his or her vital signs and sleep habits for signs of airway obstruction. This is the standard method for diagnosing sleep apnea.
Enjoying a Better Night’s Sleep
If sleep apnea is the cause of your partner’s snoring, then treatment for the condition may take one of several forms. Possible options include:
- Use of a CPAP mask to maintain positive airway pressure throughout the evening.
- A doctor-prescribed, dentist-designed mouthguard specially designed to promote unobstructed breathing.
- A different pillow or sleep surface. Sometimes all that’s needed to relieve apnea symptoms is a change in the bedroom environment.
- Lifestyle changes. Sleep apnea is most often associated with problems such as obesity, tobacco use, or sedentary habits. Exercise, weight loss, and quitting smoking can help the person to manage their symptoms and enjoy better rest.
It’s important to understand that sleep apnea will remain a health concern throughout your partner’s life. You should continue to monitor his or her rest after treatment begins. If snoring or other symptoms persist, then further treatment may be required.
Knowing the difference between ordinary snoring in Plano and sleep apnea is important for achieving optimal treatment outcomes. Discuss your concerns with your partner and make an appointment for him or her to see your dentist soon. The sooner treatment begins, the sooner the two of you can begin enjoying the quality rest you deserve.
About the Author
Dr. Keane Fedosky is a trained dentist who has spent the last 20 years focusing on the treatment of sleep apnea. He is a member of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine. You can reach his office online or by calling (972) 496-0515.