You probably think of your dentist as someone who takes care of your teeth and gums. While this is certainly true, your oral structures and habits can also influence some of the major actions of your body – such as your sleep. In fact, those who suffer from sleep apnea may find the best help from their dentist!
What is Sleep Apnea?
Snoring, morning headaches, poor concentration and daytime fatigue are all symptoms of sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a serious and common sleep disorder that needs to be treated. Worldwide, over 100 million people suffer from sleep apnea!
Sleep apnea is characterized by brief pauses in breathing while you sleep, occurring hundreds of times per night for many sufferers. Patients may find that they snore or wake up gasping for air. This happens when the throat muscles relax and the surrounding walls of tissue collapse or close in. When oxygen is deprived, the brain responds by immediately waking you up. Both children and adults can experience sleep apnea.
Considering such frequent episodes of oxygen deprivation and sleep quality disruption, it is easy to understand the setbacks that sleep apnea can bring. Not only can it compromise your quality of life, but it can also put your overall health at risk. Untreated sleep apnea has been linked to high blood pressure, heart disease and weight gain.
How Can a Dentist Help?
A classic sign of sleep apnea is snoring. To prevent snoring and the habitual cessations of breathing that occurs with sleep apnea, a nighttime oral appliance can be used. At West Hill Family Dental, we proudly offer proven and FDA approved oral appliances for snoring prevention and sleep apnea.
Oral appliances work by comfortably holding the lower jaw in a forward position so that your airway remains open throughout the night. As your sleep apnea dentist, we will work collaboratively with your medical provider when diagnosing and treating your condition. Many patients who have advanced sleep apnea benefit from oral appliance therapy if they have CPAP intolerance. Regardless of the severity of your sleep disorder, we will work hard to ensure you get a better night’s rest in the future.
If you suspect that you or a member of your family is suffering from sleep apnea, please schedule a consultation at our Rocky Hill dental clinic today.