Sleep Apnea & Your Dentist: The First Line of Defense
Posted on 4/25/2022 by Mark Bieber
|Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that can have a negative impact on your health. Therefore, if you are experiencing sleep apnea symptoms, it is important to see a doctor right away. However, did you know that we can also be a valuable resource when it comes to diagnosing and treating sleep apnea?
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a condition in which breathing stops and starts during sleep. A person with this disorder may have periods where they stop breathing anywhere from ten seconds to minutes at a time, sometimes hundreds of times each night! If left untreated, it can lead to serious health problems such as high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, and diabetes.
Signs and Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
There are many signs and symptoms of sleep apnea, but the most common ones are snoring, excessive daytime sleepiness, and fatigue. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to see a doctor right away for diagnosis and treatment.
How Dentists Can Help
Dentists can play an essential role in diagnosing and treating sleep apnea. We can look for certain risk factors that may indicate that you have this disorder, such as a recessed chin or large tonsils. We can also perform a polysomnography (PSG) test, which is the most accurate way to diagnose sleep apnea. If you are diagnosed with sleep apnea, we can work with you to develop a treatment plan that may include lifestyle changes, oral appliances, or surgery.
Additionally, we can provide you with a custom oral appliance that holds your jaw in place and helps prevent your airway collapse during sleep. Finally, we may recommend lifestyle changes such as losing weight, quitting smoking, avoiding alcohol before bedtime, and sleeping on one's side instead of on one's back to not exacerbate any symptoms.
Our dentists are trained to recognize the signs and symptoms associated with this serious disorder, which means they are a valuable resource for diagnosing and treating sleep apnea! So if experiencing snoring, excessive daytime tiredness, fatigue, no energy level throughout the day, etc. Please don't wait until it gets worse. Call us for an appointment. We can help you get on the road to better health!