Can Dentists Treat Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

sleep apnea Rohnert Park, CA

If you believe you have sleep apnea, you need to seek treatment right away. When you have this condition, you do not breathe properly during sleeping hours. Your dentist should be a source of help. This professional can recommend different techniques to open your airway so you have constant airflow. This will help ensure that you sleep soundly and avoid other troubling health problems.

An overview of sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is the result of irregularly breathing while a person is trying to sleep. Instead of interrupted breathing, the person will stop and start breathing throughout the night. The person’s breathing could stop for a few seconds but even for as long as a minute or more because of blockage in the airway. A narrow throat, enlarged tissues or the tongue blocking the airway are common causes of this condition. This illness can prevent the person from sleeping well and can contribute to other health problems.

Dental work and sleep apnea

Obstructive apnea is not a condition a person should ignore. When muscles in the throat relax and soft tissues collapse, the person’s area could be blocked. It is important to visit a dentist right away to evaluate the issue. The dentist will conduct a thorough exam to determine the severity of the blockage. One of the ways the dentist can decide whether the patient is struggling with sleep apnea is to look for worn teeth or inflamed gums. Both of these are symptoms of teeth grinding, which itself can be related to obstructive apnea.

Nighttime mouthguard

Some dentists may suggest that the patient wears a mouthguard during sleep time. This custom-made appliance will accomplish a few things to promote effective breathing. First, the mouthguard will push the jaw forward, opening the airway wider. Second, it can also hold the tongue in place and prevent it from moving back into the throat. If the dentist and patient decide on this treatment, there will be several follow-up visits to make sure it is working effectively.

Surgery

The dentist may also work closely with a sleep doctor or other medical professionals to treat the patient with the right methods. In more severe cases of sleep apnea, the dentist may decide that oral surgery is the right way to combat the condition. Several options exist, depending on the patient’s needs. One of the most complex operations involves adjusting and repositioning the jaw. In other procedures, doctors can remove tonsils or adenoids. There are also ways to expand the person’s airway to promote good breathing at night.

Detection and treatment are critical

Sleep apnea may be linked to additional health problems such as high blood pressure and diabetes. If you notice that you are having a hard time sleeping at night due to snoring or teeth grinding, visit with a dentist near you. Your dentist can examine your teeth and mouth to see what is blocking your airway. You can then start treating the condition so you can sleep more soundly at night.

Request an appointment here: https://www.gratondentalgroupca.com or call Graton Dental Group at (707) 509-1145 for an appointment in our Rohnert Park office.

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