Sleep Apnea: Connection To Dentistry

An estimated 30 million people around the world suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA. In OSA, the muscles in the mouth and airway relax which cause breathing passages to be blocked leading to short periods of time when the body is not getting oxygen. When your breathing halts, you wake up.

The solution: Your body needs sleep.

Getting a full 8 hours of sleep each night helps your mind and body repair from the prior day, helps you to stay healthy, and gives you time to heal. When your sleep is interrupted, other aspects of your health start to go by the wayside. This is why fixing any sleep apnea problems early is vitally important. Going to see your doctor is a great place to start getting help with OSA.

The First Steps Of Sleep Apnea

You must first be diagnosed with OSA. To do this your doctor may require an overnight evaluation of your sleep cycle or you may be required to do an at home test to diagnose your sleep apnea. Once it is determined that you have OSA, you can reach out to your dentist for treatment. Your doctor should supply you with a prescription to see a dentist in order to make your custom appliance.

Oral Appliance

One common way to treat sleep apnea is to use an oral appliance, such as a mouth guard to sleep with. The mouth guard is designed to give your airway an unobstructed opening to allow breathing to continue steadily and normally throughout the night. It does this by pushing your jaw in a forward position allowing the back of the throat to stay open. This is a very effective way to treat sleep apnea and can even prevent nuisance problems, such as snoring.

Many people prefer to wear a mouth guard to cure their sleep apnea opposed to the cumbersome face mask. The mouth guard is molded and constructed to fit your mouth so often people do not even realize they are wearing it to sleep. Your dentist will be able to help design and create a mouth guard for you to sleep. There are nearly 100 different oral appliance designs so finding an appliance that will work for you should be easy.

Further Treatment

For particularly troublesome cases of sleep apnea surgery may be necessary to correct the problem. There are a variety of different surgeries depending on what exactly is causing your OSA. Surgeries can range from jaw procedures, to having tonsils removed, to having palate implants to correct the problem. Working with both your dentist and doctor should help to find the appropriate surgery for you.

If you are suffering from sleep apnea it may be time to see your doctor and dentist to take positive steps toward a sound sleep. The medical professionals at Spartan Dental are happy to help and answer any questions you may have about sleep apnea. Go to our website at spartandental.com to learn about the services we offer and how we can help you. We are always welcoming new patients so please call today to schedule your appointment.