According to the National Sleep Foundation, this potentially life-threatening sleep problem affects around 18 million individuals in the United States Known as Sleep Apnea.
Sleep apnea is a common condition where you experience one or more pauses in your breathing or short breaths while sleeping. Pauses in breathing can range anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes. It’s a long-term problem that affects your Sleep. It results in poor sleep quality, leaving you exhausted the following day. Sleep apnea can also cause excessive daytime fatigue.
Dentists have the skills to conduct dental sleep medicine, a branch of sleep medicine that focuses on using oral appliances to treat snoring and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). During your trip to the dentist, you might want to discuss your sleep pattern and hear what your dentist wants to tell you.
Pauses and gasping while snoring might be markers of sleep apnea, as can loud choking noises. Another significant indicator is daytime sleepiness, trouble breathing while sleeping, or falling asleep while driving.
When should you consult a doctor?
Consult your doctor if you have trouble breathing, gasping, or choking while sleeping or if your spouse has noticed that you snore excessively loudly and with pauses. When you have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), the muscles in the back of your throat relax, making it easier for tissues in the surrounding area to block your airway. Even your tongue can slide back and block your airway.
How can Dentists help treat Sleep Apnea?
Having an assessment by a dentist is necessary if you and your doctor decide to use an oral device. Your dentist will take a dental impression to determine whether or not you are a good candidate for this procedure. The dentist will produce the device and schedule a follow-up appointment for a fit.
After removing the appliance, you will receive a morning re-positioner to correct your bite. In addition, your doctor will provide instructions on how to operate and maintain the equipment. You may need to return to the dentist for further specific modifications to get the best results. Following treatment, you might have to undergo another sleep test to assess how the device is performing for you.
What are the treatment options for sleep apnea?
If your doctor establishes that you are suffering from Obstructive Sleep Apnea, they will discuss your treatment choices with you. A continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine is generally the gold standard when treating OSA.
There are various reasons why CPAP may not be a good fit for your needs. Another effective alternative is Dental appliance therapy, like the mouth guards used by athletes. These dental appliance devices prevent the tongue from obstructing the throat and/or extending the lower jaw forward. They are available for individuals with mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea.
Some devices are also available that help keep the airway open while the person is asleep. An oral appliance specialist and a sleep specialist can work together to evaluate if this is the appropriate treatment for you. In severe cases, your doctor may recommend surgery.
Your dentist can help you with the early diagnosis and manage obstructive sleep apnea if you begin today. Request an overnight sleep study from your health care physician. (Service name) has a team of experts who can accurately diagnose and treat sleep conditions with your doctor.
This media/content or any other on this website does not prescribe, recommend, or prevent any treatment or procedure. Therefore, we highly recommend that you get the advice of a qualified dentist or other medical practitioners regarding your specific dental condition