Sleep apnea is caused by the narrowing or blocking of your airway. When you go to sleep, it's normal for your throat muscles to relax a little bit, but the sleep apnea patient experiences more significant relaxation of these tissues, which blocks the airway. The cause of the airway blockage may be:
- Being overweight, which means there may be more fat around your airway, which can make it narrower.
- Your throat and tongue relax too much when you sleep, partially or fully blocking the airway.
- Your tongue, tonsils, uvula, and other throat tissues are larger than normal.
When you can't breathe in and out effectively, then your blood oxygen level can drop. The reduction of oxygen in your blood is registered in your brain, which signals you to wake up just enough for the throat muscles to tighten and your airway to open.
These disruptions in sleep can occur hundreds of times a night, without ever fully rousing you from sleep. Although the CPAP machine is a common treatment for sleep apnea patients, there are dental appliances that can prevent airway blockage while you sleep.
If you suffer from sleep apnea in Salt Lake City, Midvale, West Jordan or the surrounding areas and want to learn about your treatment options, please contact Warr Dental to schedule a consultation.