Sleep apnea could be life threatening if it is severe enough. If you believe you suffer from sleep apnea, speak with a doctor to get properly tested and diagnosed.
Signs of Sleep Apnea:
- Daytime Sleepiness
- Learning and Memory Difficulties
- Loud Snoring
- Sexual Dysfunction
Dental Sleep Medicine
Dental sleep medicine is an area of dental practice that focuses on the use of oral appliance therapy to treat sleep-disordered breathing, including snoring and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Dentists work together with sleep physicians to identify the best treatment for each patient.
Dentists pioneered the use of oral appliance therapy for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea and snoring in adults. An oral appliance is a device worn in the mouth only during sleep. It fits like a sports mouth guard or orthodontic retainer. A custom-fit oral sleep appliance is an effective treatment that prevents the airway from collapsing by supporting the jaw in a forward position.
Loud snoring, being exhausted and excessive daytime sleepiness are common warning signs for obstructive sleep apnea. Diagnosis of sleep apnea is rendered by a board certified sleep physician who analyzes the results of a sleep test. A sleep test can be taken at a sleep testing facility, or at home by means of a portable sleep monitor. If you have snoring without sleep apnea, your doctor should give you a prescription for an oral sleep appliance. If you have sleep apnea, your doctor will discuss treatment options with you.
The most common treatment for sleep apnea is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy. The CPAP machine keeps your airway open by providing forced air through flexible tubing. CPAP therapy requires you to wear a mask as you sleep. Although CPAP therapy is effective, some people are unable to adhere to it. Your doctor should consider giving you a prescription for a sleep apnea appliance if you are unable to tolerate CPAP therapy or prefer an alternate treatment. Many people like an oral appliance because it is comfortable, quiet, portable and easy to wear. In some severe cases of sleep apnea, upper airway surgery may be another treatment option.
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