How Your Dentist Can Help With Sleep Apnea
FEELING A BIT TIRED at times during the day is completely normal, even with a good night’s sleep. Some people, however, struggle every night for a restful sleep, especially those with sleep apnea.
Did you know that one in five adults has obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) with 80 percent of cases going undiagnosed? This condition can disrupt your sleep and increase your risk of severe health problems.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea occurs when your muscles relax during sleep, allowing soft tissue to collapse and block the airway. This can cause a person to stop breathing hundreds of times per night, immensely disrupting their sleep. Here are some indications of a problem:
- Morning headaches
- Excessive daytime drowsiness
- Impaired mental or emotional functioning
- Excessive snoring, choking or gasping during sleep
- Waking with dry mouth or sore throat
We Can Help
Dentists are often the first professionals to become aware of a potential case of OSA and many are specially trained for the treatment of sleep apnea. We are just such a practice!
While the most common treatment for sleep apnea is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy, oral appliance therapy that dentists provide is the increasingly preferred form of treatment. This is due to the high rejection rate of CPAP therapy and the fact that oral appliances are much more convenient, portable, and easy to care for.
Oral Appliance Therapy
Oral appliance therapy uses a mouth guard-like device to maintain an open, unobstructed airway while you sleep. They are typically as easy to wear as most retainers. There are two ways the oral appliance works to open up your airway:
- By repositioning your lower jaw, it keeps your throat muscles engaged as you sleep, preventing them from collapsing.
- Oral appliances can also move your tongue forward, keeping it from falling back and blocking the throat.
(NOTE TO OUR CLIENTS: Customize this post by answering these questions about your own practice here:
What’s the process for diagnosing and treating sleep apnea in your practice? Do you coordinate with sleep centers and other specialists?
Add anything else you feel would be valuable to your patients living with sleep apnea.)
Don’t Ignore Sleep Apnea
Never underestimate the power of a good night’s rest! The quality of your sleep is extremely important to your overall health and well-being. Ask us today how you can better your life by treating sleep apnea through oral appliance therapy!
Top image by Flickr user Marcelo Braga used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.