You might not think that you need a dentist for snoring, but the National Sleep Foundation states that about 30 to 50 percent of people in the U.S. snore throughout their lives. In most cases, this snoring is a symptom of sleep apnea and other health issues.The intensity and frequency of a patient's snoring is…
How A Dentist Can Help With Sleep Apnea
A lot of people may not realize that they have sleep apnea. Sure, snoring is a normal event that happens when someone sleeps, but not always.
For some people, these events can lead to their airway closing and to the stopping of their breathing, all while asleep and unaware that it is happening. Instead, they are jolted awake, or not even conscious that this is happening. Instead, they constantly feel tired and never rested. If this sounds like you, or you think it may be happening, the dentist is a good person to talk to.
Dentists can help with sleep apnea?
People may not know, but a dentist can be a beneficial person to talk to about sleep apnea. Although at some point it will take having a sleep study done to test for sure that someone has sleep apnea, some of the treatment options are received from a dentist.
Two of the most common treatments aside from a CPAP machine would come from a person’s dentist. Either a mandibular advancement device (MADs) or a tongue retaining mouthpiece can both be great alternative therapies for sleep apnea. Both work in different ways, but even for someone having difficulty with snoring could benefit from using a tongue retainer.
Mandibular advancement device (MADs)
The MADs are used to push the lower jaw forward, opening up the airway. These devices are similar looking to mouth guards worn during sports. However, they attach to the upper and lower teeth and project the lower jaw out to alleviate the closing of the airway causing the sleep apnea, shortness of breath or breathing to stop completely.
Although it is a relatively simple device, and one that does not require the cords and hoses of a CPAP machine, they are effective. Studies have recently found that with the majority of people there is no statistical difference in the effects on sleep apnea compared to using a CPAP machine.
Tongue retaining mouthpiece
This device rests on a person's lips and is used to suppress the tongue. It helps in stopping snoring which is great to avoid the airway from closing. Many times while snoring the muscles become tense and then relax which causes the airway to close. By having this device that eliminates snoring, there is much less of a chance that this will occur.
Do you need to have a sleep study done?
In the end, having a sleep study is vital to understanding if a person has sleep apnea or not. During these studies, the person’s sleep will be observed along with their brain activity, breathing, oxygen levels and if they are getting restful sleep.
If a person has the symptoms of sleep apnea it is typical that they do. However, completing a sleep study is vital to ensure that the correct treatment is chosen and used to help the issues.
If you think that you may have sleep apnea and are either scheduled or due to have a twice per year cleaning, then it would be great to talk to the dentist about. They can help in guiding you to make the best decisions to ensure you begin getting restful and healthy sleep. Contact us today and we can help!
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