Yes, Dentists Treat Sleep Apnea and SnoringMonday, April 1st, 2013, 8:00 pm
Many people know about the condition called sleep apnea and the medical dangers caused by untreated sleep apnea and snoring – but most people don’t know that dentists can treat sleep apnea and snoring!
Sleep apnea causes people to stop breathing during sleep – this happens many, many times each night. When the brain realizes it needs oxygen it briefly wakens the sleeper to begin breathing again. This results in fragmented sleep and an extremely groggy patient who experiences lots of health problems. Health issues related to untreated sleep apnea include heart attack, stroke, diabetes, depression and weight gain. The daytime sleepiness experienced by these patients also puts them at heightened risk for auto and workplace accidents.
Sleep apnea can only be diagnosed by a sleep physician following a sleep study. Most patients are given a CPAP machine to treat their disease. A CPAP is a wonderful treatment but unfortunately about half of patients cannot tolerate the machine. This is where the dental profession comes in.
Obstructive sleep apnea occurs because the soft tissues of the mouth and throat relax during sleep and collapse into the windpipe – blocking the flow of air. A dentist who has received training in dental sleep medicine can create a special oral appliance that gently moves the jaw forward which keeps the airway open during sleep. No masks or tubing or electricity requires. Just a small oral device that looks similar to an orthodontic retainer or sports mouthguard. Most patients find oral appliances comfortable and easy to use.
A bonus for oral appliances – they are easy to travel with. No hassles at the airport and if you are camping you can still treat your sleep apnea – no batteries or generator needed. If you do not have sleep apnea but snore while sleeping an oral appliance can resolve the snoring issue as well.
Find out more about obstructive sleep apnea and oral appliance therapy by contacting Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-886-9439.