Sleep Apnea Treatment Is Something Your Dentist Can Help You With

Sleep apnea is a common breathing disorder that occurs during sleep. Symptoms of sleep apnea include loud snoring, choking, gasping, and difficulty breathing while asleep. Obstructive sleep apnea is widespread and makes up for 80-percent of all sleep disorders in the U.S., according to American Dental Association. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine estimates almost 25 million people in the U.S. are affected by sleep apnea. It's a quietly growing problem that can cause significant health risks.

Sleep apnea commonly causes fatigue, restlessness, and contributes to mental health issues. Without treatment, sleep apnea can be dangerous, negatively affecting the immune system, brain function, and heart health.

Sleep apnea is caused by unnatural relaxation in the tongue and throat muscles that ultimately obstruct breathing. Dentists can diagnose and treat sleep apnea effectively according to your needs. For most sleep apnea treatment, a dentist will provide an oral appliance that prevents your tongue from obstructing the airflow of breathing.

Oral appliance therapy for sleep apnea is similar to wearing a night guard. It is non-invasive and easy to wear at night. The dentist will create a digital or physical mold of your teeth that will be used to create the oral appliance. That model is sent to a lab that creates a custom-fit appliance to treat your sleep apnea. Once complete, the dentist fits it to you to ensure proper support and comfort.

Oral appliances are found to be highly effective for mild to moderate sleep apnea treatment. This type of treatment can also be much more comfortable and easier to tolerate as compared to using a CPAP device. Oral appliance therapy was first used by dentists to treat adults with sleep apnea and snoring.

Dentist-provided treatment improves sleep quality and the associated negative symptoms of sleep apnea. The dentist providers of oral appliance therapy should have specialized training in how to provide this service.