You may think it unusual to go to a dentist for sleep apnea and snoring. But it’s not such an out-of-the-box notion. In fact, dentists help thousands of people annually resolve both issues which are becoming more and more prevalent.
Statistics out of the US quote approximately 12 million people as having some degree of sleep apnea. Sleep apnea occurs when the airway is obstructed by the tongue and soft tissues of the throat during sleep. So, just guess what one of the first signs of sleep apnea is. Snoring.
Sleep apnea can affect every organ system. It is linked to weight gain, poor memory, heart attack, stroke, depression, diabetes hypertension, gastric reflux, libido, sleepiness and ADHD in children. It is not something to be taken lightly.
Your physician will diagnose and suggest treatments. In extreme cases, surgery is sometimes recommended. In addition, a more common method, a CPAP machine is a non-surgical option. CPAP which means continuous positive airway pressure consists of a machine that delivers air under pressure through the nose while you sleep to help prevent constriction of the airway.
Many people are uncomfortable sleeping with the CPAP machine. This is when a visit to the dentist could solve the problem. Your dentist will recommend Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT). This treatment for sleep apnea is an effective alternative to the CPAP machine. It consists of a custom-fit mouth-guard-like device called a Mandibular Advancement Appliance. Worn only during sleep, these appliances prevent the lower jaw from falling back when you sleep which keeps the tongue forward and out of the airway thus maintaining an open, unobstructed airway.
At Northern Dental Care we work closely with patients who have been diagnosed with sleep apnea as well as with their physicians to make and monitor dental appliances as an alternative to CPAP. So don’t spend another night on the couch or the guest room because of snoring. And don’t spend another night risking your life to sleep apnea. Talk either to your physician or schedule an appointment with your dentist and let everyone get a good night’s sleep.