How Dentists Treat Sleep Apnea
Breathing is essential to functioning, but it is often taken for granted. Conditions like asthma or obstructive pulmonary diseases can make breathing more difficult, and can infringe upon how one carries about their activities during the day. Sleep apnea is unique in that it makes breathing difficult during a period that most are not even aware is occurring. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when a person sleeps, making it difficult to address, and has lasting effects throughout the person’s day. Fortunately, there are many options to treat obstructive sleep apnea here at Randolph Center for Dental Excellence family dentistry.
What is Sleep Apnea, and How is it Identified?
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder characterized notably by a breathing difficulty wherein breathing suddenly and randomly stops and starts again. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when muscles in the mouth or throat relax too much and begin restricting proper airflow to the lungs, leaving them in need for air.
Sleep apnea is identified often by loud snoring, gasping for air, waking up with dry mouth, and periods where breathing stops. Many of these are often noticed by someone else close to the individual experiencing obstructive sleep apnea.
Sleep disorders warrant a visit to the doctor, where they may refer one to a sleep specialist to determine further the nature of the issue. Once it is identified, treatment can begin, typically by aid of oral appliances. Oral appliances are where we can help patients obtain the tools that they need to get a good night’s rest.
Causes for Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea is most commonly caused by muscles in the throat that relax and obstruct the airway. Men are more likely to suffer from sleep apnea, and as are those experiencing excess weight. Sometimes, though, genetics are to blame for the nature of obstructed airways that only get narrower when muscles relax during the night.
Treatments for Sleep Apnea
For those with mild or moderate obstructive sleep apnea, sometimes all that is needed is a little mouthguard-looking oral appliance. These small devices are not very invasive or complex, and efficiently open airways such that one can breathe unobstructed.
Dental appliances are created by us. During your dental exam, we will take impressions of the mouth, and create a device that is completely customized to one’s mouth, and set it such that it will allow the muscles and jaw to relax in such a position that no muscles obstruct the airway. By doing this, air is freely flowed into the lungs, and the discomforting and dangerous effects of obstructive sleep apnea are done away with.
We ensure that the appliances are properly fitted, but may need optimization over time. We also help ensure to teach one how to clean and maintain the device to ensure its long-term function.
Sleep apnea is a very difficult sleep disorder to live with. Feeling tired, and unrested makes for more stress throughout the day, further affecting quality of sleep. In some cases, sleep apnea actually poses danger to the individual experiencing it. Everyone deserves quality rest, and there are plenty of treatments available for sleep apnea, fortunately so. If you have any questions regarding sleep apnea, please do not hesitate to contact our skilled family dentistry team here at Randolph Center for Dental Excellence at today.