Sleep apnea is a disorder in which the muscles and tissue in the back of the throat collapse, momentarily obstructing the airway while a patient is asleep. Because this condition affects the respiratory system, many patients seek treatment from their general physician. Sleep apnea treatment is also available at many dental practices. The dentists at Stewart Dental Group in Charlotte, NC respond to frequently asked questions regarding sleep apnea treatment from a dentist.
How do I know if I have sleep apnea?
Because sleep apnea occurs while a patient is unconscious, it can be hard to know if this is happening to you. Partners of patients can recognize loud snoring or the cessation of breathing for a moment during the night. Individuals can recognize in themselves difficulty concentrating or grogginess during the day due to low-quality sleep. If these symptoms sound familiar, you should contact a medical professional for an evaluation. You may be referred to a sleep specialist for an overnight examination of your sleep pattern.
How is sleep apnea treated by a dentist?
A doctor might recommend the use of a CPAP machine at night to treat sleep apnea, but a dentist can suggest an alternative solution. Your dentist can treat mild sleep apnea symptoms with an oral appliance. This device is custom-made to fit your unique mouth while you sleep. It is similar to a mouthguard and will position your jaw so that your airway remains open as you sleep. Because the appliance is customized, you can ensure it will be comfortable, convenient, and effective. You can also speak and drink fluids while wearing the appliance.
Are there risks with this treatment?
Sleep apnea itself can lead to health issues due to repeated cessations of breathing and continued low-quality sleep. This disorder can increase the risks of heart problems and lower cognitive function. This is why symptoms of this condition should not be ignored. A CPAP machine can force air continuously through your airways, but this treatment can be uncomfortable for some patients. Patients will be less likely to use this machine as prescribed if it interrupts their sleep, so they will continue to have these health risks.
Dentists design the oral appliance with comfort in mind so that it is easier to comply with the recommended use by a health professional. With more sleep and no breathing interruptions, you can greatly reduce the medical risks of sleep apnea. The device can allow you to sleep as you normally would. If the appliance seems to slip out of place during sleep, let your dentist know so they can adjust the fit.
Sleep apnea treatment available in Charlotte, NC
Stewart Dental Group offers sleep apnea treatment to patients in Charlotte, NC. Our practice also offers general, cosmetic, and restorative dental services to patients of all ages. To schedule an appointment with us, contact our office online or reach us by phone at 704.255.4256.