We all know how disruptive sleep apnea can be not just for the quality of our sleep, but also for every facet of life, from work performance to physical health. If you’ve been diagnosed with sleep apnea, you may just assume that the only treatment option is CPAP. You may also not have realized that you can actually turn to a dentist for sleep apnea treatment. Here at Mt. Lookout Dentistry, our team is can treat mild to moderate forms of sleep apnea with oral appliance therapy.
The most common form of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), in which breathing periodically stops throughout the night. In some cases, someone may temporarily stop breathing over a hundred times in one night. Those with sleep apnea often snore loudly or wake up gasping or choking for air.
Sleep apnea leads to extreme daytime fatigue, which can affect your work or school performance. It can also increase your chances of injury, whether on the job or while driving. Sleep apnea is also linked to several health problems, including:
• Heart attack
• Heart arrhythmias
• High blood pressure
We can work together with your doctor and sleep specialists to determine whether oral appliance therapy could ease your symptoms and give you a better night's rest. How severe your symptoms are will determine whether this is the right therapy for you. However, you must first be diagnosed with sleep apnea via a sleep study before we can consider treating you.
While CPAP devices are the most common way to treat sleep apnea, those with mild to moderate forms of sleep apnea may be able to benefit the most from an oral appliance. Similar to a mouth guard, these dental devices reposition the jaw and the tongue forward to prevent the muscles of the throat from collapsing into the airways. These devices are only worn at night while you sleep, and each device is custom-fit to cater to your specific needs. Benefits include:
• More compact and easy to travel with
• More comfortable and easy to wear
• Noiseless for a quieter sleep environment
• Less cumbersome and no need for bulky equipment
• Easy to care for and maintain
As with any type of treatment, oral appliance therapy isn’t right for everyone. It’s best suited to adults dealing with mild to moderate forms of obstructive sleep apnea, however, it can also benefit patients who may not tolerate or be ideal candidates for CPAP therapy. If this sounds like you, a simple dental evaluation with our team can determine whether you’re right for oral appliance therapy.