Could Sleep Apnea be Holding you Back?
Sleep apnea is a disorder characterized by shallow breathing and/or pauses in breathing while sleeping. According to an estimate by the American Sleep Apnea Association, some 22 million Americans suffer from the disorder. If left untreated, sleep apnea could lead to a variety of more serious issues, such as high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation otherwise known as a quivering or irregular heartbeat, stroke, chronic heart failure and other cardiovascular problems.
What Does Your Dentist Know About Sleep Apnea?
Interestingly, dentists are often the first to identify possible sleep disorders because common warning signs are often related to the mouth, nose and throat. Teeth grinding, redness in the throat, a small jaw and even having a tongue with scalloped edges are all signs of possible sleep disorders like sleep apnea. If your dentist spots a warning sign of sleep apnea, he or she may recommend that you participate in a sleep study to determine if you have sleep apnea.
Sleep Apnea Treatment
The most common treatment for sleep apnea is the use of a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) device, which provides the wearer with pressurized air that prevents their airway from collapsing. CPAPs are typically prescribed and used under the guidance of a primary care physician.
However, not all sleep apnea is considered equal. If you suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which is related to the position of the tongue and/or jaw during sleep, an oral appliance may be a better first-line treatment option.
Similar to athletic mouth guards and orthodontic appliances, oral appliances for sleep apnea treatment are worn in the mouth while you sleep to help hold your lower jaw slightly forward and prevent the tongue and muscles in the upper airway from collapsing, keeping your airways open as you sleep.
Treating Sleep Apnea with Dental Depot
Many Dental Depot DFW dentists are OSA (Obstructive Sleep Airway) certified. This means that we are skilled at detecting possible sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea, but also to fit patients with oral appliances, as well as monitor treatment.
Oral appliances for treating sleep apnea are custom made to fit your unique body. And while they usually take a few days to adjust to wearing at night while sleeping, your Dental Depot DFW dentist will work with you to make sure that your device fits properly and works to improve your symptoms, keeping you safer while you sleep.
If you suspect you may have sleep apnea (or have a family member who snores excessively), contact your Dental Depot office and let us conduct an initial exam and help you get on the road to better sleep, improved health and greater energy.
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