There are millions of Americans that suffer from sleep apnea. While you may have heard that a sleep clinic and doctors can help with sleep apnea, you may not be aware that your dentist can play an important part in helping your sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is a condition that causes people to stop breathing at different times during their sleep. There a couple of different types of sleep apnea and these are central sleep apnea and obstructive sleep apnea. The obstructive type of sleep apnea is caused by the soft tissue in your airways collapsing, and this causes disruption to breathing. This basically keeps oxygen from reaching your lungs.
Central sleep apnea is where your brain stops sending messages to breathe while you sleep. While there isn’t any physical disruption to your breathing, your body responds similarly. Both types of sleep apnea are bad for you. People who suffer from sleep apnea often wake up feeling lethargic and tired. If this goes untreated it can seriously impact your health both short-term and long-term.
Sleep Apnea also increases your risk of other health issues. People that have sleep apnea are 1.8 times more likely to have high blood pressure. They are twice as likely to have heart disease and mood disorders. This includes depression, bipolar disorder, and more. Those that have sleep apnea are also at higher risk of having diabetes and stroke. Those that have sleep apnea also are more likely to have auto accidents since falling asleep or slow reflexes while driving is common.
You might be wondering how dentists can play a role in helping with sleep apnea. Dentists are actually very helpful when it comes to obstructive sleep apnea. Once you have been diagnosed a dentist can give you an oral appliance that will help ease the symptoms of sleep apnea if they are mild to moderate.
The most common dental device used for sleep apnea looks similar to a mouth guard and what it does is push the lower jaw slightly forward. This keeps the muscles that cause obstructive sleep apnea, from collapsing. When used over time, this will cause the airway to be stronger and reduce the effects of sleep apnea.
If the dentist thinks that one of these devices will be effective, they will take impressions of our teeth, and this will allow a custom oral appliance to be made for you. If it doesn’t fit properly it could actually cause issues. These devices need to be worn while you sleep.
There are multiple approaches that dentists can take to help with sleep apnea, and if you suffer from it, then you should schedule an appointment with your dentist to discuss options. Not all dentists will have much experience with sleep apnea, but East Center Dental does and we will work to help you suffer as little as possible from sleep apnea.
We would highly recommend that if you are always feeling tired and have no energy, that you should be diagnosed with sleep apnea. Getting treatment could help you live a happier and more comfortable life.