- Are you overweight?
- Do you have a history of heart disease?
- Do you smoke or drink alcohol frequently?
- Does your famly have a history of sleep apnea?
- Are you of African, Pacific Islander or Mexican descent?
Most people don't know they have sleep apnea. But left untreated, sleep apnea can cause high blood pressure, memory problems, headaches and even impotency. Moreover, sleep apnea can affect your job performance and impair your driving.
Simple changes such as shifting sleep positions, making sure you go to bed at the same time every night and losing weight can help. But curing sleep apnea may also require dental treatment:
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) -- A mask and headgear that works by blowing pressurized room air into the airway in order to keep it open.
Oral Appliances -- Oral appliances push the lower jaw forward or prevent the tongue from falling back over the airway, or a combination of both. Silent Nite® is an example of an oral appliance.
Surgery -- There are different types of surgeries available to treat sleep apnea. Dental surgery creates a more open airway that is less susceptible to blockages.
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