Are you concerned about symptoms like loud snoring, daytime drowsiness, frequent headaches or sore throats upon wakening? You may have sleep apnea. It’s important to know how to proceed in order to get effective treatment.
Before a dentist can recommend a specific intervention, the patient must first complete a sleep study to confirm the sleep apnea diagnosis. There are different types of sleep apnea – obstructive, central and mixed – and different treatment approaches are needed to address the specific problem.
When you have a specific diagnosis, you can then move forward with getting treatment for your sleep apnea. A dentist can be helpful in treating this condition.
In cases of obstructive sleep apnea, in which the soft tissues repeatedly collapse during sleep to block the airway opening, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) masks are highly effective. Unfortunately, though, they’re also highly uncomfortable and many patients ultimately give up on them.
There are alternatives! For example, some patients respond well to an oral appliance that is designed to reposition either the tongue or the jaw during sleep. The appliance can hold the tongue or jaw in a forward position to reduce the likelihood that the soft tissues at the back of the throat will cover up the airway opening. Patients tend to find that such an appliance is much less intrusive on their sleep than a CPAP mask.
Sleep apnea is not a condition that patients can ignore as a minor quality of life concern. It actually has been linked to serious health problems like obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. It may even increase a patient’s risk of sudden death. Therefore, if you suspect you may have sleep apnea, you should undergo a sleep study so that you can get effective treatment.
To learn more about the sleep apnea treatments that we offer, call our office to schedule an evaluation of your case. If you need to pursue a sleep study first, we can also refer you to appropriate resources for that task.