What does Sleep Apnea have to do with Dentistry?

Woman Sleeping Peacefully

Getting a good night’s sleep is one of the best things you can do for your health. There are many things that can prevent you from getting the high-quality sleep that will leave you feeling refreshed in the morning and support good dental health.

People who experience sleep apnea often don’t get quality sleep and can feel tired all day. Fatigue makes it hard to participate in daily activities, both at work and at home. Thankfully, there are a couple options for dealing with sleep apnea and one of them involves the dentist.

Sleep Apnea

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a condition that affects your ability to breath while you sleep. People with sleep apnea experience pauses in their breathing caused by their airway collapsing or their tongue sliding back into their airway. The brain, thinking you’re choking, reacts by waking you up, which restores the airway enough for you to go back to sleep.

Often, patients with sleep apnea don’t wake up fully enough to know this is happening, and it can happen dozens of times during your sleep, interrupting their natural  patterns. Due to these interruptions, people are left feeling tired even after a full night’s rest.

How Is Sleep Apnea Diagnosed?

Often, people with sleep apnea don’t know they have it. Their partner or other loved ones often notice the symptoms. If your partner complains about your snoring or expresses concern that you appear to stop breathing sometimes in your sleep, it’s very possible that you have sleep apnea. However, it’s important to talk to your doctor to confirm and discuss a course of action.

Sleep Apnea - Snoring Partner

What Does the Dentist Have to Do With Sleep Apnea?

There are two common treatments for sleep apnea. The most commonly known one is a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machine (CPAP). This machine pushes air past your tongue and into your airway to prevent any blockage. The other treatment is an oral device custom-made by your dentist. These devices sit around your teeth and hold your jaw and tongue in a position to keep your airway open.

While having something in your mouth is probably the last thing you want while you sleep, oral appliances do give you more freedom in how you sleep.

Are you a side or stomach sleeper? Those positions are much easier to get into with an oral appliance, compared to a CPAP that is tethered to the night stand.

Whatever treatment you choose for your sleep apnea, it’s important that you get the high quality sleep that you need to be in tip-top shape. If you’d like more information on dental treatments for sleep apnea, contact our team and we’d be happy to answer any questions you have.

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