How Your Dentist Can Help You with Sleep Apnea

How Your Dentist Can Help You with Sleep Apnea

Aug 01, 2022

Sleep apnea is a severe sleep-related disorder causing repeated interruptions with your sleep throughout the night. Sleep apnea interrupts your breathing lasting for a few seconds to minutes. The interruptions can occur 30 times or more during one hour. Snoring and sleeplessness for the most common symptoms of sleep apnea.

If you have sleep apnea symptoms, your oral health could be responsible for the condition. Therefore you should consult the dentist near you to evaluate your symptoms and determine whether you are a victim of this life-threatening condition.

Sleep apnea affects approximately 18 million Americans, according to data from the National sleep foundation. Sleep apnea causes pauses in your breathing because your tongue might be too large or your throat muscles are flabby. A tiny jaw is also responsible for the condition because it can obstruct airflow when breathing. The initial symptoms of sleep apnea become evident to dentists when they examine your teeth for signs of bruxism, causing you to grind and clench your teeth when sleeping. Bruxism also spikes cavities while wearing down your teeth.

Some signs of sleep apnea include throat redness resulting from snoring continually and tongue with scalloped edges. When affected by sleep apnea, you wake up repeatedly gasping for breath. The repeated awakenings diminish your sleep quality causing fatigue and increasing your risks of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity.

How Dentists Help Treat Sleep Apnea?

If you visit your dentist and explain your symptoms, they will look at your teeth for signs of bruxism and will likely suggest a sleep study to diagnose your condition. After being diagnosed by a sleep medicine specialist and undergoing a polysomnography test, you can schedule another appointment to determine options for sleep apnea treatment near you.

Treatment options for sleep apnea include the CPAP machine, also known as a continuous positive airway pressure device if you are diagnosed with severe sleep apnea. Unfortunately, the CPAP device is bulky and not tolerated by many patients. However, if you are diagnosed with mild to moderate sleep apnea, your dentist recommends an oral device to help you overcome sleep apnea.

How Do Oral Appliances Function?

Oral appliances, alternatively called mandibular advancement devices, are pioneered by dentists and resemble mouthguards. The devices push the lower jaw forward to tighten the muscles that collapse during sleep apnea episodes to ensure they don’t block the airway. Over time oral appliances strengthen and reduce or eliminate sleep apnea.

If you seek sleep apnea treatment in Rancho Santa Margarita, the dentist from the practice will assess your teeth, mouth, and temporomandibular joints. They evaluate to determine whether you are suitable for mandibular advancement devices. After completing the assessment, if the dentist determines your suitability, they will create a model of your teeth to fabricate the oral appliance to custom fit your mouth.

It is crucial that you receive an oral appliance customized for you because an incorrectly fitting device can cause jaw damage. In addition, the dentist advises that you wear the mandibular advancement device when sleeping to prevent sleep apnea symptoms.

Another appliance pioneered by dentists is a tongue retaining device helping you hold your tongue forward to keep your airway open because it is attached to your lower jaw. The dentist works with you to determine whether the oral devices are functioning appropriately and regularly monitor your appliances to ensure you receive the best results.

If you suffer from mild or moderate sleep apnea, you help yourself by asking your dentist whether you need a customized oral appliance or whether a night guard available over-the-counter can also help. You might receive a response stating over-the-counter night guards might worsen the problem instead of providing relief. On the other hand, a customized dental appliance helps reduce the symptoms of bruxism and cavities while also helping you overcome sleep apnea.

Determining whether you have sleep apnea is challenging unless your partner awakens you to complain about loud snoring. However, you might also experience daytime drowsiness, sore throat, and daytime headaches. If you have these symptoms besides fatigue during the day, loss of attention at work or school, and a dry mouth, you must discuss the issue with your dentist, who can help determine the causes of the condition and provide suitable sleep apnea treatment to help you manage this severe sleep-related disorder.

Jordan and Pham Dentistry provides sleep apnea treatment for mild or moderate sleep apnea in Rancho Santa Margarita. If you experience the symptoms of this condition, kindly schedule an appointment with this practice to assess and treat yourself for this life-threatening condition.

949-888-5665 Request Appointment