Dentists have the intimate knowledge of human anatomy and are able to notice the warning signs of sleep apnea. If you think you may have sleep apnea, contact your dentist in East Amherst to explore available treatment options! Call (716) 221-0042 today!
Sleep apnea is a serious medical condition in which a person momentarily ceases to breathe during their sleep cycle for an extended period. The pause in breathing repeats continually and disrupts the patient’s sleep.
Sleep apnea can be mild or severe and the severity is characterized by the number of breathing pauses and how long they continue. If a person’s breath stops for at least 10 seconds and if the breathing stops and restarts at least 30 times in an hour, this is indicative of severe sleep apnea.
There are different types of sleep apnea but the most common is called obstructive sleep apnea and the breath is stopped because of the upper airway muscles being relaxed to the point of collapse and blocking the airway entirely. Persistent and loud snoring is a sign of sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea can be detected by your doctor, a dentist, or at a sleep study. While dentists can not formally diagnose sleep apnea, we have the intimate knowledge of human anatomy to notice the warning signs such as enlarged tissues that can block the patient’s airway, acid reflux, bruxism, or an enlarged tongue.
The following symptoms are all signs of a patient with sleep apnea:
- Loud snoring
- Paused breathing
- Feeling very tired after a full night’s sleep
- Waking with a sore/dry throat and dry mouth
- Feeling like you are choking in the middle of the night
- Jaw pain
- Difficulty with concentration or memory
- Mood swings
- High blood pressure
- Large neck or tongue
- Needing to frequently use the bathroom
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you could have sleep apnea. We can screen for signs of sleep apnea with x-rays and refer you to an accredited sleep study where you can be diagnosed. Contact us at The Ivory Dental Co. by calling (716)-221-0042 or book online to schedule an appointment with Dr. Bridget Sweeney.
Getting treatment for sleep apnea is important because if left untreated, it can lead to serious health issues. Patients who suffer from sleep apnea are significantly more likely to develop type 2 diabetes and heart disease and suffer from a stroke or heart attack which can shorten the patient’s lifespan.
The standard treatment for sleep apnea is to use a CPAP machine which assists with the patient’s breathing throughout the night by providing a steady flow of air. However, if you have mild to moderate sleep apnea, there are a variety of other treatments available for sleep apnea that can be found at a dental office.
This is an oral appliance made of hard plastic and looks like a retainer. It is worn in the mouth while the patient sleeps and the metal hinges attached to your teeth shift your lower jaw forward to keep the airway open.
For patients whose tongue is responsible for blocking their airway, this tongue splint holds the tongue in place to prevent it from blocking the throat. The oral splint does this by pushing your tongue forward so that it hangs out of your mouth, but it may cause dry mouth.