Can A Dentist Help With Sleep Apnea?

Posted on: April 2, 2018

Sleep ApneaSleep apnea sufferers typically use CPAP machines when first attempting to enjoy more restful, healthy and safe sleep.  However, few turn to their dentist for assistance. The little-known truth is dentists really can help with sleep apnea.

How Dentists Help With Sleep Apnea

CPAP is not the sole means of treating sleep apnea.  Alternative treatment options available at the dentist’s office such as oral appliances have proven effective for plenty of patients.  Meet with your dentist to discuss sleep apnea and he or she will start out by verifying you actually suffer from this condition. The dentist might order an at-home sleep analysis. If such a test is necessary, you will be provided with a device that monitors and records your breathing patterns, heart rate and oxygenation. The results will be reviewed to determine if you are receiving the proper amount of oxygen necessary each night.

Sleep Apnea Oral Appliances Provided by the Dentist

If the dentist determines you have sleep apnea, he or she will likely recommend the use of an oral appliance.  The dentist will send all of your information to the dental laboratory in order for a removable oral appliance to be made.  This oral appliance must be worn while you sleep. Do not worry about whether this oral device will be comfortable. It is made in accordance with the nuances of your mouth for an exact fit.  In fact, you will forget the oral appliance is in your mouth after wearing it for a couple minutes.

There is no reason to worry about the safety of an oral appliance.  It will be held firmly in place as you sleep so it does not fall backward while you obtain the rest you desperately need.  The tongue stays in place while the airways are opened to permit the movement of air. The end result of oral appliance use is improved breathing that allows for the optimal oxygen levels and a restful sleep.

When is Oral Appliance Therapy Necessary?

Oral appliances are only necessary for sleep apnea that is mild to moderate.  If the sleep apnea is not caused by a repeatedly obstructed airway, an oral appliance will not suffice.  Such obstruction of airways occurs when there are anatomical constraints like an especially large tongue, large tonsils, a nasal obstruction or an abundance of tissue within the throat. 

The severity of sleep apnea is determined by variables beyond the number of times the patient breathes while sleeping.  If breathing pauses too much during sleep, it will lead to low blood oxygen levels and possibly several health issues. Though oral appliances have helped countless sleep apnea sufferers, they do not work for every single patient.  It is important to monitor the effectiveness of this treatment modality with a second sleep evaluation analysis in order to guarantee it actually works. Rely on your dentist to determine if an oral appliance is actually necessary or if another treatment modality is more likely to clear your airways and improve your sleep quality.

Please call Portola Dental Group today at (760) 201-4085!

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