Most people know of apnea as a sleeping condition where a patient’s breathing is disrupted when they sleep. Apnea is likely more common than you think because it’s sometimes used to refer to people who have general snoring issues. About one in five adults in Flint, MI has a mild case of it, and some may not even realize they have it. While most people may consider seeing a doctor, they may also want to consider seeing a dentist for these problems. Dr. Kassel Family Dentistry wants to help everyone breathe easier- whether they’re awake or not.

An Overview of Apnea

Apnea may occur in two different ways. The most common way is when the tongue falls back into the throat as a person sleeps. This happens when the soft tissue in the back of your mouth becomes so relaxed as to let the tongue obstruct the airway. The less likely (and more serious) scenario is when the brain actually stops sending the signal to your lungs to breathe. People who experience this won’t generally snore, so it may go unknown if the disruption is mild enough. Apnea can even occur as a combination of these two phenomena. The most common solution to this problem is a CPAP machine that goes over the mouth while a person breathes to ensure that air is coming through. However, most people prefer to sleep naturally, and so CPAP machines have a tendency to go unused. It leaves patients wanting more alternatives, which is where your dentist comes in.

How a Dentist Can Help

If you have the type of apnea that affects your brain, you’ll likely need to stick with the treatment of your regular doctor. However, if you have the more common form of apnea, talk to a dentist today. While a dentist can’t provide you with the quick fix you’re likely looking for, they may be able to provide suggestions that don’t involve a noisy machine covering your mouth and nose at night. Oral techniques to improve your sleep may come in the form of a mouth guard-like device that you only wear at night. The device works to open up the back of your throat so you can breathe easier, no matter the weather in Flint, MI. (And so your partner can sleep better!)

You may also consider surgery for your throat. Some have throat tissue obstructing their breathing at night. A surgery called UPPP may be able to remove that tissue so your breath can flow in and out. A dentist will take out the tissue and the tonsils (if applicable), and then use sutures to ensure the tissue doesn’t collapse. It requires an overnight stay and about a week of recovery. While somewhat invasive, it may be the best way to treat the problem so you can get on with your life.

Apnea is a serious problem that can cause chronic drowsiness, headaches, and even weight gain. Dr. Kassel Family Dentistry in Flint treats people with cases of apnea, and we invite you to learn more about how we can help. Our staff is here to find a solution that not only keeps you healthy but also fits with your lifestyle.