If you’re like most people, you may not know that a dentist can play a key role in treating sleep apnea. While most people associate dentists with teeth cleanings and fillings, they can provide a wide range of services that can improve your overall health, including helping treat sleep apnea.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a condition that affects millions of people around the world. There are several pauses in breathing during sleep, which can last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes. These pauses can occur dozens or even hundreds of times per night, leading to various health problems, including high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and more.
Traditionally, professionals will treat sleep apnea with a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. This machine uses a mask that fits over the nose and mouth and delivers a constant airflow to keep the airway open during sleep. While effective, many people find CPAP machines uncomfortable, cumbersome, and difficult to use.
That’s where oral appliance therapy comes in. This treatment, which dentists provide, involves using a custom-fitted oral appliance worn during sleep. The appliance works by repositioning the jaw and tongue in a way that helps keep the airway open. Additionally, this will reduce the incidence of breathing pauses.
Oral Appliance Therapy
One of the main advantages of oral appliance therapy is that it is much more comfortable and convenient than a CPAP machine. The appliance is small and easy to use. Additionally, most people find that it doesn’t interfere with their sleep in any way.
To start with oral appliance therapy, the first step is to schedule a consultation with a trained dentist. During the consultation, the dentist will evaluate your symptoms and determine whether oral appliance therapy is appropriate for you.
If it is, the dentist will take impressions of your teeth and use them to create a custom-fitted appliance. This appliance fits comfortably in your mouth and repositions your jaw and tongue. This will help keep your airway open.
Once your appliance is ready, your dentist will show you how to use it properly and give you tips for keeping it clean and well-maintained. You’ll then be instructed to wear the appliance every night during sleep.
One of the great things about oral appliance therapy is that it can be used as a standalone treatment or in combination with other treatments, such as weight loss, positional therapy, or surgery. Your dentist can work with you to develop a comprehensive treatment plan that addresses all of your needs.
If you are looking for a more comfortable and convenient treatment, oral appliance therapy may be right for you. To learn more, schedule a consultation with a dentist and take the first step toward better sleep and improved health.