Suffering from Sleep Apnea? Call Your Dentist

| July 17, 2015

sleeplessGetting a good night’s sleep is one of the most important ways to maintain positive physical and mental health. However, if you are waking up exhausted, even after a full night’s sleep, you may suffer from sleep apnea.

Sometimes brushed off as just a snoring problem, sleep apnea can cause several severe health problems, and it is a condition that should be taken seriously. The good news, though, is that sleep apnea can be treated. And your dentist may just be the best person to address the issue.

What is Sleep Apnea?

For those who suffer from sleep apnea, their breath repeatedly starts and stops during sleep. Each of these pauses in breathing can last for seconds, or even minutes!

Sleep apnea comes in three forms – central (CSA), obstructive (OSA) and complex (a combination of CSA and OSA). CSA is caused when the brain fails to send proper signals to respiratory muscles. OSA occurs when there is a blockage of the airflow.

Sleep apnea can have serious health consequences, including:

  • Fatigue during the day
  • High blood pressure
  • Complications during general anesthesia
  • Damage to the liver
  • Complications with certain medications
  • Increased risk of vascular diseases

Signs of Sleep Apnea

The following symptoms mean you may suffer from sleep apnea. If you think this is the case, it is time to contact your doctor and dentist immediately.

  • Very loud snoring
  • Morning headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Being overly tired during the day
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Dry mouth and/or sore throat when you wake up

How Sleep Apnea is Treated

Traditionally, sleep apnea has been treated though use of a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) ventilator. These machines fit over the mouth and nose during sleep, and they force the breathing passages to open with a continuous flow of air.

Unfortunately, CPAP machines are usually bulky, loud, and can be uncomfortable. However, dentists have recently come up with another solution.

By taking a custom mold of your mouth, our dentists can create sleep apnea mouth guards that are comfortable, quiet, and effective.

How Sleep Apnea Mouthguards Work

A sleep apnea mouthpiece works by shifting your lower jaw forward slightly, which opens your bite. This shift in your dental alignment works to open your airway, allowing for easier breathing.

Sleep apnea mouthpieces are proven to be successful, and they are a great option for those who cannot tolerate the CPAP devices.

How Grandview Dental Care Can Help

To start the process of fitting your sleep apnea mouthpiece, a sleep study is necessary. If you have not yet been diagnosed, we can help coordinate your study.

Once your situation has been properly assessed, it will be time for the dentists to get to work. An impression will be made of your teeth, which we use to make custom-fit, plastic trays that you will insert at night. This mouthpiece should deliver results on your very first night of use.

After your mouthguard is put into use, your dentist will need to check its fit once every six months for the first year, and at least once a year after that. This will ensure that the mouthguard is positioned properly, and gives us a chance to reassess your sleep apnea.

While sleep apnea can have both short and long term effects on your physical and mental health, it can be treated effectively. Our professionals are happy to answer any questions you have, and to set up your next appointment.