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Sleep Apnea – How Dentists Can Help You Sleep Better

by Emberlynn S. Pantazopoulos

Did you know that many sleep disorders, like sleep apnea, can be detected by symptoms like snoring and insomnia? Your quality of life can be severely impacted by untreated sleep apnea, which can result in daily exhaustion, difficulties concentrating, and serious, long-term health issues.

According to the American Sleep Apnea Association, an estimated 22 million Americans have trouble sleeping as a result of sleep apnea. While you might be tempted to see your primary care physician to address the cause of your sleep problems, you might be shocked to hear that your dentist is another professional who can do so.

Dental sleep medicine is a branch of dentistry that uses oral appliance therapy to treat sleep apnea and other common sleep-disordered breathing issues. You may learn more about these typical sleep-related problems from the accompanying guide, as well as how your dentist can help you finally get a good night’s sleep.

Dentists Can Help with Sleep Apnea

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obstructive (OSA) sleep apnea is one of the most prevalent types of sleep disorder. This problem happens when, while you’re sleeping, the muscles that support your tongue, throat, and soft palate briefly relax. Your breathing stops as a result, which can last anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes and happen 30 or more times every hour.

Many OSA sufferers snore loudly, and some of them wake up gasping for air. Some persons with sleep apnea are unaware that it is occurring, and a bed partner or roommate is frequently the one to make them aware of it.


Does Sleep Apnea Affect Me?

Although the risk tends to rise with age, sleep apnea can occur at any age. A increased risk of developing OSA may also exist if you:

  • experiencing high blood pressure
  • consume sedatives or alcohol on a regular basis
  • possess specific anatomical characteristics like nasal polyps or big tonsils
  • possess a broad neck circumference
  • a weight problem

A person with OSA may also be at an increased risk for poor work or academic performance and car accidents since sleep apnea produces excessive exhaustion during the day.

It might be challenging to diagnose sleep disorder on your own, and it’s simple to attribute symptoms to exhaustion, headaches, irritability, or other underlying conditions. This is why it’s crucial to seek medical attention if you constantly feel exhausted for no apparent reason.

One or more of the additional warning symptoms of sleep apnea include the following:

  • loud, repeated snoring.
  • moments where you stop breathing while sleeping, which a roommate might notice.
  • breathing heavily when sleeping.
  • having a sore throat or a dry mouth when you awaken.
  • daily headaches.
  • Symptoms of TMJ, such as teeth grinding.
  • having trouble remaining asleep.
  • excessive daily fatigue with no apparent cause.
  • difficulty concentrating or paying attention while awake.
  • mood swings including agitation and depression.


A Dentist Can Aid With Treating Sleep Apnea!

It’s critical that you get expert therapy as soon as possible if you or your sleeping companion suspect that sleep apnea is the root of your chronic tiredness. CPAP is typically the norm for treatment (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure). By forcing air into the nose and mouth cavities, this device prevents soft tissues from contracting. Unfortunately, not all patients respond well to CPAP, and the devices can be noisy, uncomfortable, and large. All of these things can interfere with your sleep and the sleep of others around you.

Oral appliance therapy is now a less invasive option for treating sleep apnea thanks to sleep dentistry. In order to decide if this course of therapy is best for the patient, a sleep specialist and a dentist with experience in sleep dentistry collaborate. A particularly educated sleep dentist can closely collaborate with the patient to create a detachable oral appliance if it is determined that the patient is a good candidate.

An oral appliance made for sleep apnea is specially built to move the jaw forward while you sleep and fits similarly to a sports mouthguard or retainer. To ensure that the passage of oxygen throughout the body is unhindered, the soft tissues in the airways (tongue, soft palate, tonsils, and the back of the mouth) are in the proper places. A person with sleep apnea can finally have restful, undisturbed sleep and more energy during the day with an unobstructed airway.


In comparison to CPAP, utilizing an oral appliance for sleep apnea has many advantages. Therapy using oral appliances can:

  • Enhance sleep apnea symptoms such daytime weariness, irritability, and concentration problems.
  • Reduce or stop snoring loudly and frequently.
  • Give people who cannot tolerate CPAP an alternative.
  • Traveling is simpler, working without power is more peaceful.

Even after a full night of sleep, you may still have severe daytime weariness, which may indicate that you have obstructive sleep apnea. It’s critical that you address the underlying causes of your sleep problems as soon as possible because working day in and day out without getting adequate rest can lead to more severe, long-term health issues. You can find out if you have sleep apnea and discover more about your treatment choices, such as oral appliance therapy, with the assistance of a sleep expert and a trained sleep dentist.

Originally posted 2022-10-17 06:28:05.

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