Sleep Apnea Treatment
Sleep apnea is a medical disorder that can be tricky to detect because the symptoms appear while the patient is sleeping. Although it can be difficult to spot, it’s far from uncommon. In fact, approximately 25 million Americans suffer from the effects of sleep apnea. Symptoms can include a chronically dry mouth, excessive sleepiness, exhaustion, irritability, impaired mental functioning, snoring or gasping as you wake up at night, or the inability to fall asleep or stay asleep.
How Sleep Apnea is Detected
It’s not uncommon for the family dentist to be the first medical professional to suspect a patient has sleep apnea due to the more frequent contact most dentists have with their patients and their familiarity with oral anatomy. If after talking with the patient, Dr. Smith or Dr. Rackley suspect you may suffer from sleep apnea, you may be referred for diagnosis to a sleep medicine specialist. Typically, a sleep study is conducted. The results of the sleep study are analyzed and if appropriate, a diagnosis made.
Treatments for Sleep Apnea
There are a number of treatments available for sleep apnea. The treatment prescribed depends on many factors such as the severity and overall medical condition of the patient. Treatment solutions may include the prescription of a CPAP machine. This
machine pumps air through a mask worn at nighttime to help maintain positive air pressure in the patient’s throat at nighttime (while the individual sleeps) to keep the airway open. A surgical procedure may be recommended in some cases.
One of the most common and least-invasive treatments is the custom-made sleep apnea dental appliance. This appliance looks and feels a lot like a regular night guard. But it is specially designed to help keep air passages open when it’s being worn. If this solution is right for you, the dentist will take digital impressions of your mouth and send them off to a specialized lab where a custom fit sleep apnea dental appliance will be created. You’ll have a fitting session with the dentist where he will discuss how to use itas well as the best means for daily care for your appliance. We’ll make sure it fits perfectly and all your questions are answered before you leave!
Questions about sleep apnea treatment?
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