If you read our earlier post on the subject, you will already know that sleep apnea is a condition that interrupts breathing while you’re asleep. Many sufferers don’t even know they have it, but either find themselves unreasonably tired during the day, or are told they have something wrong by a partner.
The condition has many causes, some of which can be dental in nature. There are orthodontic causes including temporal mandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ) and some cosmetic procedures that can contribute or cause sleep apnea. That makes visiting the dentist very worthwhile indeed if you think you may have the condition.
Treatment of Sleep Apnea
Once diagnosed, there are several treatment options your dentist can provide to help control the condition. There are lifestyle changes you can make that can alleviate mild sleep apnea. There are also oral appliances that can help control this life threatening disease.
If your sleep apnea is more serious, we can provide more permanent treatments. The most popular is a CPAP machine. CPAP is Continuous Airway Positive Pressure, which is provided by the device to keep your airways open during sleep. This can be a very effective treatment in many cases.
Other dental treatments for sleep apnea include dental appliances, orthodontic and neuromuscular reconstruction, or a combination of all of these.
The CPAP machine involves wearing a mask or nasal device that forces air into the body keeping your airway open. It is a very good remedy in the majority of cases, if you don’t mind the mask.
Dental devices include a mouth guard to keep the tongue in place. They come mainly in the form of the mandibular repositioning device and the tongue-retaining device. There is also a device that fits on the chin to adjust the position of the jaw, allowing free airflow into the mouth. Each is more comfortable to wear than they sound!
Dental procedures are also possible to address any physical structure issues with the mouth and jaw that may be enabling the sleep apnea. As holistic dentists, these are obviously the treatments of last resort, but we will of course discuss all your options with you during your appointment.
The correct identification, diagnosis and treatment of sleep apnea is essential to your continued wellbeing. It isn’t a condition that gets better by itself and it isn’t a condition that you can safely ignore. Do nothing and it will take its toll on your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing as well as cause problems if you regularly disturb your partner during sleep.
Visit Aesthetic Family Dentistry for fast, effective diagnosis and treatment of sleep apnea today. You’ll be so glad you did!