How Your Dentist Can Help You With Your Sleep Apnea

Dentist Blog

Sleep apnea is a troubling disease to have, and one that can put your entire life at risk. With sleep apnea, sufferers often stop breathing during their sleep, which can cause brain damage and increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. As a result, if you have sleep apnea, you should seek help immediately to curb its effects. Read on to learn how your dentist may be able to help you with your sleep apnea.

What Causes Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea can have many contributing factors, but ultimately, regardless of its cause, sleep apnea blocks off the windpipe, preventing breathing during sleep For most sufferers, this is because the windpipe becomes blocked during rest, due to the tongue or the muscles collapsing inward, closing off the airway. In either case, sufferers will often wake up in the middle of the night multiple times in order to clear their away. Unfortunately, as soon as their body relaxes again, the process will start all over. At best, this will create a poor quality of sleep. At worst, however, it can cause severe health risks, like limiting the amount of oxygen the brain receives.

How a Dentist Can Help

Dentists are specialists at creating prosthetics and tools for the mouth, like night guards and retainers. One of the tools they can create that help with sleep apnea are mouth guards that help to prevent the tongue and muscles from falling backward. This is called oral appliance therapy, and involves a custom-made retainer-like device that your dentist will create for you. The device will keep your mouth open slightly during sleep, which helps to keep the tongue and muscles extended forward, preventing your airway from being cut off.

What To Expect

When you go in to have an oral appliance created, your dentist will examine your mouth and throat thoroughly. This may include an x-ray as well as a full dental exam. They'll also examine any paperwork you have from your doctor indicating your sleep apnea diagnosis and severity.

Once your dentist has chosen a full treatment method, they'll take a mold of your mouth to make a custom oral appliance for you. They will then send the information off to the manufacturer to have the appliance made and shipped back. Your dentist will then ensure that the appliance fits properly and will send you home with your new oral appliance.

Sleep apnea is a dangerous condition, and a simple visit to your dentist may be able to help you to control it. Talk to your dentist today to find out if oral appliance therapy is right for you.  


25 May 2017