General Dentistry Treatments for Sleep Apnea

General Dentistry Albuquerque, NM

You are likely familiar with what happens during a general dentistry visit. The dentist and hygienist will exam you and identify emerging concerns and diagnose troubling conditions. There is also a time for cleaning the teeth and removing any plaque and tartar buildup. The dentist can also treat a variety of issues. These are not limited to tooth decay and gum disease. If you have sleep apnea, your dentist might be able to help.

An understanding of sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is a serious condition that occurs when a person stops breathing and restarts during sleep. This may happen a few or several times while the person is asleep. The person may stop breathing for a few seconds, though some people stop for a few minutes at a time. Snoring often accompanies sleep apnea. The problem often occurs because of something blocking the person’s airway.

There are several risk factors for sleep apnea, and certain types of people may be more prone. Obese and overweight people may be more prone to having it. The condition is more common in people who smoke or drink excessively too. Genetics can also play a role.


General dentistry care can treat sleep apnea in a few different ways. One of the most common ways to address the problem is with a mouthguard. This device is also useful for people who grind their teeth while sleeping. Mouthguards help push the jaw forward, which can open the airway and promote more effective, steady breathing.

To fit the person with this device, the dentist will first do an exam. The dentist will take X-rays and make impressions. These will ensure that the dentist makes a mouthguard that fits properly. Adjustments may also be required periodically.

Tongue depressor

Sometimes, the tongue can be the culprit of airway problems during sleep. The tongue can roll back in the mouth to the back of the throat. This can block air from getting into and out of the mouth. To solve this challenge, the general dentistry staff may recommend a tongue depressor. This device holds the tongue in place, keeping it from restricting airflow.


In more severe cases of sleep apnea, surgery may be necessary. The dentist will thoroughly examine the patient to determine whether this is the right treatment. Patients who have excess tissue in the mouth or especially large tonsils may be prone to sleep apnea. Surgery can remove some of this tissue to provide a larger space for air to pass through the throat.


The general dentistry staff may also talk with the patient about sleep apnea difficulties. The dentist will ask questions about the person’s symptoms. It may also be helpful to talk to bed partners. Adjustments to the way a person sleeps may treat the condition.

Visit a general dentistry office near you

Getting a good night’s sleep is vital for overall health. If you are struggling with sleep apnea, you can start with the general dentistry office near you. Your dentist can try a few methods to improve your breathing. These can solve the challenges you face at night.

Are you considering general dentistry in the Albuquerque area? Get more information at

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