May 16, 2012
If you snore, it could be a sign of sleep apnea. When you suffer from sleep apnea, your throat muscles and tongue collapse onto the back of your throat, block your airway, and make you stop breathing repeatedly all night. Luckily, your dentist may be able to help. A dentist can screen patients and determine if signs of sleep apnea are present. If signs are present, the dentist will direct you to your family doctor or refer you to a physician who deals with sleep apnea who will then conduct an overnight sleep study to confirm the diagnosis and severity. Based on that study, a sleep specialist will be able to tell you if a CPAP device ( a mask connected to a tube that gently blows pressurized air through your airway to keep your throat open as you sleep) or an oral appliance will work best. That’s where your dentist comes in. For an oral appliance, you will be referred to a dentist familiar with sleep apnea. Oral appliances often work best with people who are not obese and have mild to moderate sleep apnea according to Ferguson, MD. Oral appliances also may help patients with moderate to severe sleep apnea who refuse or cannot tolerate CPAP treatment, or as a device to be used when one is traveling. If you choose to have an oral device, one can be custom made for you by your dentist to help keep your airway open when you sleep. Although the CPAP device is still the gold standard of care, studies have shown that some people prefer the oral devices and tend to use them more. New Image Dentistry does fabricate custom oral devices and will be happy to be an integral part in treating your sleep apnea needs. Call today!