I feel a little foolish contacting a dentist about this, but I’m absolutely desperate. I am exhausted all the time. I’m getting plenty of sleep so that is not the problem. Yet, when I wake up I feel like I’ve hardly slept a wink. I’m beginning to wonder if I’m being kidnapped by interdimensional aliens at night, like that Star Trek Next Generation episode. My friend at church told me that she was having the same thing and her dentist gave her something to put in her mouth while she slept. Ever since then, she’s been well rested when she wakes up in the morning. Can a dentist do that for me too?
Dear Sleepy Sarah,
I’m sorry you’re feeling so exhausted. That’s a horrible way to exist because you so often feel like you’re having to drag yourself through life just to barely keep up. It’s a chore just to put one foot in front of the other. Being sleepy has a negative impact on just about every part of your life— family, work, even your health.
Fortunately, there’s no reason to feel foolish in asking a dentist for help with this. There is a good possibility you’re suffering from sleep apnea. A dentist is the perfect person to go to for treatment.
Sleep Apnea and Exhaustion
With sleep apnea, the muscles in the back of your throat close up, cutting off your oxygen. This stops you from breathing momentarily. Your body, recognizing this, startles you awake just enough to get you breathing again. This can happen over and over throughout the night. No wonder you’re tired when you wake up!
You’ll likely need a sleep study to see if this is what’s going on with you. Often you can get your doctor to write you a prescription for the study so it doesn’t cost you very much. If it turns out you do have sleep apnea, your friend is right. A simple orthotic device from your dentist may be all you need to get you back to a full night’s rest.
Dr. Bader is a big believer in starting with the least invasive treatment first. This device is like wearing a custom-fitted sport’s mouth guard. But, it’s designed to gently move your jaw into a position which keeps the muscles in the back of your throat from obstructing your airway. This gives you all the oxygen your body needs along with a full night’s rest.
This blog is brought to you by Boston Holistic Dentist Dr. Steve Bader.