You may not immediately think of sleep dentistry as a service that your general dentist would provide. However, if you are suffering from sleep apnea or other related conditions, your dentist may be able to help. There are ways to combat these issues without having to wear a CPAP machine. You can try other methods to restore your health and avoid the problems that result. Let your dentist evaluate your needs and come up with a treatment plan.
An understanding of sleep apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea is a common condition that sleep dentistry professionals treat. It occurs when tissue in the back of the throat restricts airflow. This lack of oxygen can cause a drop in blood-oxygen levels, suddenly waking the person up during sleep. A person with sleep apnea will stop and restart breathing up to several times in the night. The individual may stop breathing for a few seconds or even for several minutes.
Having sleep apnea can disrupt sleeping patterns. The condition can lead to extreme fatigue and exhaustion as well as irritability. People who suffer from it may have a difficult time concentrating. Untreated, the issue can lead to cardiovascular problems, including a heart attack or stroke.
An overview of sleep dentistry
People who suspect they have sleep apnea may first think of visiting the doctor. While this can be a viable response, sleep dentistry is an option that individuals consider. This branch of dentistry explores treatments through oral devices instead of bulky CPAP machines. Rather than worry about wearing a mask every night and to deal with other equipment, the patient can use less invasive treatments. The general dentist will first examine the patient to determine the severity of the issue and what is causing the breathing problem. The culprit could be enlarged tissue such as tonsils or adenoids.
Using a mouthguard
In sleep dentistry, the dentist will often fit the patient with a mouthguard. This fits in the mouth over the teeth. The dentist will take impressions of the person’s mouth and bite to make a properly fitting device. The mouthguard pulls the jaw forward and opens the airway, allowing for more effective, continuous airflow. It can cut down on snoring and prevent the frequent interruptions in breathing that people suffer.
Similarly, the person may benefit from a tongue depressor. This small device holds the tongue in place. It will keep it from slipping to the back of the throat and cutting off the flow of air. The dentist will regularly follow up with patients who wear these appliances to ensure they are working and fitting properly.
In more severe cases, sleep dentistry professionals may recommend surgery. The patient could need to undergo an invasive process to reduce the size of tissue in the mouth that is blocking the airway. The general dentist may have to remove excess tissue from the soft palate or pharynx. This process could improve a person’s nighttime breathing.
There are ways to breathe well once more
Sleep apnea can have significant effects on your health. Let sleep dentistry help. As an alternative to using CPAP machines, ask your dentist about using a mouth appliance. You can once again enjoy a good night’s rest.
Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: Do I Have Sleep Apnea in Denham Springs, LA.
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