- Other Apps
Sleep apnea is a common ailment in America with over 22 million Americans suffering from this problem. If you have trouble sleeping you might have thought about going to see a sleep apnea specialist, and while this is a good idea many people do not know that their local dentist should be the first person they should call. In fact, most of the time, a dentist can resolve your sleep apnea in office. Solutions such as changing sleep habits and fitting you with oral appliances can all be done by your local dentist.
Sleep positions have a great impact on the quality of your sleep. As you are sleeping your muscles and soft tissue relax. When this happens, your tongue can obstruct your airway and disrupt your sleep. Simply rolling to one’s side can decrease your sleep disorder and offer a more restful sleep, because your tongue will not fall back into your airway as easily and obstruct it. If you are having trouble sleeping or you wake up throughout the night, then changing your position might be all that is required to have a better night’s sleep.
If changing your sleep position does not help you, your dentist can offer an oral appliance to you. This is a mouth guard that looks like a regular sports mouth guard but is thinner and feels less clumsy in the user’s mouth. It is only worn while sleeping and will support the jaw in a forward position which will decrease the chance of the tongue blocking the airway and causing the person to snore. A mouth guard can also help a person with bruxism (a medical term for teeth grinding) as this can also cause someone to wake up throughout the night. If an oral appliance does not help perhaps a CPAP would. This is a machine that uses positive pressure to increase air in your throat in order to decrease the chance of an airway collapse, thereby increasing the quality of sleep. The user would wear either a mask over their mouth and nose or just their nose depending on the degree of sleep apnea. If a CPAP machine is necessary, your dentist will refer you to a sleep specialist, as there are several different CPAP options.
If all of these methods do not work then surgery might be necessary. This is generally a last resort method and is used if the other methods will not work. There are several different procedures a sleep specialist can perform to reduce your airway obstructions. Again, if your dentist cannot help you then he can refer you to someone who can. Attempting to treat your symptoms with your dentist before could not only alleviate your sleep apnea quickly and easily but it could also be less expensive for you as you would not need to see a specialist.
If you are suffering from sleep apnea then you should talk with your dentist. There are several easy solutions your dentist can do to have you back to sleeping soundly. Talking with your dentist also means you don’t have to schedule another appointment with a different doctor. A dentist can diagnose and treat sleep apnea during your same bi-annual dental exam visit. Our staff at Jackson Family Dentistry will walk you through all the necessary steps in order to have you back to sleeping through the night.