Can dentists treat sleep apnea?

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Can dentists treat sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a serious medical condition that usually hurts many aspects of a person’s life. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common form of the condition and causes the soft tissues in the back of the throat to block air passageways, making it difficult for the person to breathe while sleeping.

Most people don’t realize they have obstructive sleep apnea until a loved one notices them gasping for air at night or until they are diagnosed based on their symptoms. To receive an accurate diagnosis, those who suspect they may have sleep apnea should visit a sleep specialist.

Here are the symptoms he or she will look for:

  • A combination of snoring and restless sleep
  • Bruxism (teeth grinding)
  • Jaw clenching
  • Feeling tired throughout the day
  • Headaches or migraines in the morning
  • Damaged teeth
  • Chronic dry mouth and sore throat
  • Anxiety, depression, moodiness
  • Weight gain

These symptoms can sometimes be confused for other health conditions so be sure to speak to a sleep specialist to rule in or out sleep apnea. If you are diagnosed with OSA, a sleep doctor, dentist, and other medical professionals can work together to provide the patient with an effective treatment. Continue reading to learn more about the treatments for sleep apnea and other health issues that are associated with it.  

Oral Appliances for Sleep Apnea

When patients think of treatment for sleep apnea, they typically think of a CPAP machine. While that may be a necessary treatment, dentists offer one more option.

Mild to moderate cases of OSA can be treated with a customized oral appliance. The dentist partners with a dental lab technician to create an oral appliance that fits your mouth perfectly so it’s comfortable and effective.

This device, also called a mandibular advancement device (MAD), covers the top and bottom teeth and keeps the jaw positioned forward which prevents bruxism and stops the throat muscles from blocking the airway.

For the best results, patients must wear this appliance every night. After just a few nights, patients report feeling:

  • Energetic
  • Rested
  • Focused
  • Alter
  • Calm
  • Upbeat

The cessation of snoring will offer these benefits to your partner as well.

In some cases, a combination of treatments may be necessary. Your team of experts will work together to give you the best quality of life as possible.

Health Problems Associated with Sleep Apnea

Unfortunately, untreated sleep apnea comes with several health risks. Patients become more vulnerable to the following health problems:

  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Stroke
  • High blood pressure
  • Acid reflux
  • Depression
  • Alzheimer’s

If you suspect that obstructive sleep apnea is the cause of your unexplained symptoms, visit a sleep specialist today. Once you’ve been diagnosed, ask him or her about a dentist who can provide you with an oral appliance. It’s one of the most effective and comfortable options for sleep apnea patients.

Our dentist, Dr. Abbey J. Lee offers sleep apnea treatment for patients who suffer from mild to moderate cases of OSA. Dr. Lee is passionate about helping patients get their lives back on track. She has a long performance record of success and her skill and experience ensure all our patients receive the most accurate care.

Don’t live in a state of constant exhaustion any longer. Let us help you live a vibrant, fulfilling life again! Call our Grant Park dentist today at 404-328-7177 to schedule an initial consultation.

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