Sleep apnea is a disturbing and dangerous sleep disorder that a lot of people actually experience throughout the night. However, with the help of a dentist, a person should be able to get a better night's sleep. Snoring and frequently waking up throughout the night are common occurrences associated with sleep apnea. A lot of people are surprised to know that dentists are one of the best health professionals to talk with regarding sleep apnea. Find out more in this article as we outline how a dentist can help.
What it is
Before understanding how a dentist can help someone with their snoring or sleep disturbances, it is first important to be aware of what sleep apnea actually is. There are some misconceptions about sleep apnea, so it can be helpful to understand what it is and how it affects a person.
Sleep apnea is a serious sleeping disorder that causes someone to stop breathing repeatedly throughout the night when they are asleep. The upper airway of a person’s throat becomes blocked, which can reduce or stop a person’s airflow.
How it affects someone
People that suffer from sleep apnea are typically affected while they are asleep. Their breathing will be repeatedly interrupted in the middle of the night, and they may also experience heavy and loud snoring. Some people wake up with headaches because the brain is having to work harder in order to let the body know that airflow is being disturbed.
What a dentist can do
Dentists can work with the person who is experiencing sleep apnea. They will likely examine the jaw, the teeth and the mouth as a whole because each of these parts of a person’s body plays a role in sleep apnea. After an examination is done, the dentist will determine what the best method of treatment is in order to help treat the sleep apnea.
MADs, or mandibular advancement devices, are often recommended by a dentist in order to treat sleep apnea. They are similar in shape to a mouthguard or a retainer, as they completely cover a person’s teeth. MADs help a person by pushing the lower jaw and the tongue forward just enough to help prevent the throat muscles from collapsing.
Another option that a dentist may use to help a person suffering from sleep apnea is that of tongue retaining mouthpieces. A small compartment fits around a person’s tongue. Suction is used to keep the tongue held forward, which prevents it from collapsing into the airway.
These oral appliances may not solve all snoring or sleep disturbances, but they can definitely help improve a person’s breathing. A dentist is one of the best people to speak with about sleep apnea because they can determine whether or not the mouth and jaw are contributing to it. Let’s face it, snoring and interrupted sleep are no fun for anyone. Give us a call today so that we can help you!
Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: Do I Have Sleep Apnea.
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