Sleep apnea does more than just cause you to feel tired throughout the day and snore loudly at night. It can also affect the way that you look and feel.
Continue reading to find out how exactly sleep apnea affects you and learn how the dentists at Pike & Valega, DDS, located in Rockville and Poolesville, Maryland, may be able to help you if you suffer from this condition.
What is Sleep Apnea?
When you sleep, your airways are relaxed and you are able to breathe freely and easily throughout the night. For people with sleep apnea that doesn’t happen.
People with sleep apnea experience an extremely narrowing or complete closure of the airways while they sleep. The narrowing or closure of the airways causes you to stop breathing which results in an interruption in your sleep.
Diminished Quality of Sleep from Sleep Apnea Affects How You Look and Feel
Constantly being woken in the middle of the night from sleep apnea diminishes your quality of sleep. Not getting a proper night’s sleep can cause a number of problems, such problems with cell rejuvenation and immune function, which can affect how you look and feel.
Examples of How Sleep Apnea Affects Your Physical Appearance
Everyone’s experience with sleep apnea is different. However, the following are some examples of how sleep apnea may affect your physical appearance.
Sleep apnea may cause you to experience:
- Facial swelling
- Appearance of dark circles under your eyes
- Dropping or floppy eyelids
- Skin around the facial area may appear thinner and have less volume
- Facial skin can appear redder or discolored
- Reduce the appearance of front jaw prominence
- Dry skin which appears red, irritated or duller
Examples of How Sleep Apnea Affects How You Feel
Sleep apnea doesn’t just cause changes to your physical appearance. It can affect your emotional and physical health.
Some examples of how sleep apnea affects your emotional and physical health include:
- Overall feeling of fatigue – you may often feel as if you lack energy all the time and feel tired
- Increased anxiety – the constant interruption of your sleep can cause you to feel jittery or anxious throughout the day
- Increased forgetfulness or feeling as if you are in a fog – you may feel as if your thoughts are foggy or vague or you may notice you seem more forgetful
- Difficulty concentrating
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Increased feelings of depression
- Increase in the number of colds and infections you experience – a lack of quality sleep impacts your immune system which can make you more susceptible to colds and other infections
- Weight gain or weight loss
Just because you experience these problems, doesn’t mean it is caused by sleep apnea. Other medical problems could be causing these emotional and physical changes.
If you experience any of these changes, it is best you discuss them with your doctor. A doctor can order additional testing and help you determine if the changes you are experiencing are from sleep apnea or another medical condition.
How can a Dentist Help with Sleep Apnea?
At Pike & Valega, DDS, we provide dental sleep medicine services to our patients. Dental sleep medicine is a very specific area of dentistry that focuses on helping to treat or correct sleep-disordered breathing issues caused by obstructive sleep apnea or snoring with the use of oral dental appliances.
Patients who suffer from mild to moderate sleep apnea and other sleep-related breathing disorders may benefit from wearing a customized mouth guard at night. The customized mouthguard will shift the position of the jaw so it is less likely that your airways collapse or narrow while sleeping.
If our dental team at Pike & Valega, DDS suspects you may be suffering from sleep apnea or other sleep-related disorders, we may recommend you undergo a sleep study. The sleep study can help us determine what if any sleep-related disorders you are suffering from and the severity of the issues. Once that is determined, we can determine what treatment options are right for you.
The dental team at Pike & Valega, DDS has experience in creating customized mouth guards for individuals who suffer from mild to moderate sleep apnea. We use a combination of digital impressions and imaging to create a mouth guard that is specifically designed to help treat your sleep apnea.
Schedule an Appointment with Our Dentists to Discuss Sleep Apnea Treatment Options
Many of the problems you experience from sleep apnea go away once you have started treatment. If you suspect you may suffer from sleep apnea, we encourage you to schedule an appointment to discuss this issue with our dentists.
Our dentists will be able to assess your situation and determine if you may be suffering from sleep apnea. We can help you explore possible treatment options, such as creating a customized mouth guard, and even provide recommendations or referrals to a sleep specialist who can conduct a sleep study.
Call us today to schedule an appointment to speak with our dental team and learn more about how we may be able to help you if you suffer from sleep apnea.