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How a Sleep Dentist Can Help With Sleep Apnea
Many people often wonder how a sleep dentist can treat sleep apnea and help them feel better. Fortunately, a sleep dentist can use a few treatment options to help their patients. Sleep apnea often goes undiagnosed, and the people aware of the condition hardly think of a dentist for treatment. This is mostly due to the lack of information regarding the causes of sleep apnea and what really happens.
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that causes breathing to cease temporarily during sleep. According to the National Institute of Health, this disorder is very common and affects more than 12 million Americans. The breathing could stop for 10 seconds or for a few minutes and can happen several times within an hour. If left untreated, sleep apnea can result in life-threatening health issues, caused by oxygen deprivation. Some conditions associated with oxygen deprivation include high blood pressure, sexual dysfunction, heart disease, and memory issues.
The warning signs of sleep apnea include:
- Loud snoring
- Daytime drowsiness
- Choking and gasping while sleeping
- Repeated awakenings to resume sleep
How a sleep dentist can treat sleep apnea
When a patient visits a sleep dentist, the appointment will start with an examination to determine if the symptoms are related to sleep apnea. The patient may be recommended for a sleep study. During this study, the dentist will use a device to monitor the patient’s heart rate, breathing patterns, and record all sleeping events. The results will be evaluated to know if the person is getting sufficient oxygen while sleeping. If sleep apnea is the case, a treatment option will be provided.
To manage sleep apnea, sleep apnea dental devices are available. Mandibular repositioning device and tongue retaining devices are two common options. These devices help to keep the airway open by shifting the lower jaw or the tongue forward while sleeping. Dental appliances have been successful over the years for reducing the episodes of sleep apnea.
If the patient opts for a dental device, dentists will work with a lab to fabricate a suitable oral appliance for the person’s mouth. The dentist will take a mold or impression of the teeth and jaws. It is important that this process is carried out by a dentist that specializes in sleep apnea and has experience solving all the issues that may arise in the course of wearing the dental device.
Why choose a dentist?
Although sleep apnea happens in the air passages, the symptoms are noticed in the mouth. Since dentists are knowledgeable on matters regarding the oral cavity, it seems only reasonable. Another benefit of choosing a sleep dentist is that they will be able to detect certain issues in the oral cavity that may be aggravating the condition. If teeth grinding also occurs, the dentist will be able to correct the damages and recommend a solution, such as night guards.
The treatments provided by a sleep dentist for sleep apnea is highly beneficial for the patient’s physical and mental health.
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