What Can a Dentist Do for Sleep Apnea?

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What Can a Dentist Do for Sleep Apnea?

Do you or your spouse suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)? If so, you probably know how dangerous this condition can be to your overall health and enjoyment of life. Apnea refers to the cessation of respiration, so you stop breathing sometimes hundreds of times per night. This is bad enough on its own, but it also interrupts your sleep cycle and robs you of the restorative benefits of sleep. Patients with OSA frequently find themselves exhausted, both mentally and physically, even after a full night’s rest. Untreated, sleep apnea can destroy your health, as it stops you from getting adequate oxygen to keep your brain and vital organ systems operating at 100 percent.

Have you been diagnosed with OSA but the CPAP machine isn’t working out? Make an appointment with Dr. Abbey Lee to learn about Grant Park sleep apnea treatment with a customized oral appliance. Call us at 404-328-7177 to make an appointment.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

OSA is more common in overweight men over forty, but can affect people of any age or sex. If you or your spouse has never been tested for a sleep breathing disorder, you may want to make an appointment with a sleep specialist if your symptoms include the following:

  • Snoring
  • Gasping or choking in your sleep
  • Chronic tiredness or headaches
  • Inability to focus, concentrate, or stay on task
  • Sleepiness during the day
  • Low energy, depression, or irritability

How OSA is Treated

While some cases of sleep apnea are caused by neurological factors, OSA is caused by restricted airflow when you sleep. The soft tissues of your airway relax just a little too much, and the vibrations can cause snoring and or an over-reliance on mouth breathing. When doctors diagnose sleep apnea, the usual treatment is with a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine, which uses a nose-mask to deliver puffs of air that keep the airway open and receiving oxygen.

What many people don’t realize, however, is that an oral appliance from your dentist may be able to correct an obstructed airway by changing the position of the jaw. Just a small piece of soft plastic that fits between the teeth can bring the lower jaw forward just enough that the airway stays open and proper breathing can be achieved. Many patients who cannot get used to a CPAP machine have been able to correct their sleep breathing disorder with such an appliance.

Snoring and OSA

If you or your partner snores, this is not always an indication of OSA. The only way to know for sure whether you have OSA is to have a sleep study conducted by a medical doctor. On its own, snoring does not always mean your health is in jeopardy, but nasal breathing is always better for your respiratory function than mouth breathing. The good news is that an oral appliance is often an effective treatment for both sleep apnea and stand-alone snoring.

If you or your partner suffers from sleep apnea or snoring, come and find out whether an oral appliance can help you get better rest and enjoy better overall health.

For Grant Park sleep apnea treatment, visit Dr. Abbey Lee at Smiles 4 Grant Park. Call us at 404-328-7177 to make an appointment!

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