Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder affecting how a person breathes. When a person has sleep apnea, their breathing pauses throughout the night. This can happen hundreds of times in one night, interrupting the resting of the person’s brain and body. Over time, this can cause severe effects on the health of the person.
At Restoration Smiles: Adult & Pediatric Dentistry, we provide oral appliance therapy, a popular treatment for obstructive sleep apnea. These appliances are worn at night like a mouthguard and help to keep your throat muscles from collapsing while you sleep. This helps to prevent snoring and sleep apnea from occurring in the first place.
Types of Sleep Apnea Treatment
Continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP for short, helps patients gently push air through the nasal passages while they sleep. This helps prevent the throat from collapsing during sleep.
CPAP has various styles, including primary, compact, and portable machines. Patients should choose a comfortable mask that fits their face correctly. If the patient’s partner shares the bed with them, they should also purchase a mask for their partner to use.
Different oral device types are used to treat sleep apnea, including night guards and tongue-retaining appliances. These devices help keep the airway open during sleep by slightly shifting the lower jaw. While lifestyle changes are often recommended first, some people with severe sleep apnea will benefit from an oral appliance. Your dentist will be able to determine if a device suits you and discuss your treatment options in greater detail.
If your dentist determines that you need sleep apnea treatment, you will most likely need surgery. Two types of obstructive sleep apnea surgery are available to treat this dangerous disorder. One procedure, called maxillomandibular advancement, involves moving the upper and lower jaws forward to make them more parallel. The other option is a tongue-retaining device worn at night to keep the soft tissue at the back of your throat from blocking the airway.
If you’re suffering from sleep apnea, you must see a dentist immediately, as it is essential to diagnose and treat the condition as soon as possible. Untreated sleep apnea can lead to serious health problems, including heart attack, stroke, diabetes, depression, weight gain, high blood pressure, and more.
Screening for Sleep Apnea
You should talk with your dentist about sleep apnea screening if you snore loudly and frequently. You might be surprised to learn that snoring and mild cases of sleep apnea often go undiagnosed. However, you may have sleep apnea if you’re experiencing symptoms such as daytime sleepiness or fatigue, chronic headaches, difficulty concentrating, irritability, and lack of energy.
The dentist can make a diagnosis and recommend the proper treatment for you based on your unique concerns and symptoms. If left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to serious health problems such as high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, and diabetes.
Get in touch with Restoration Smiles: Adult & Pediatric Dentistry at 2 Coolidge St Suite 202, Hudson, MA 01749 or call (508) 658-0661 for more information about the diagnosis and the treatment options available for sleep apnea.