Sleep Apnea Treatment
Sleep apnea is a medical disorder that can be tricky to detect because the disorder happens 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, lethargy, irritability, impaired mental functioning, snoring or gasping as you wake up at night, or the inability to fall asleep at night time.
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. If after talking with the patient, the dentist suspects 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 a diagnosis made, if appropriate.
There are a number of treatments available for sleep apnea. The treatment prescribed depends on many factors such the severity and 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 to keep the airways 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 clear when it’s being worn. If this solution is right for you, the dentist will take impressions of your mouth and send them off to the dental lab where are 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 it as well as the best means for daily care for your appliance. We’ll make sure it’s fitting perfectly and all your questions are answered before you leave!