Sleep apnea is a potentially serious condition that affects how you breathe while you sleep. The most common type of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea, which happens when your airway becomes blocked or narrow during sleep. If you are experiencing symptoms of sleep apnea, it’s important to schedule a consultation with a dentist The Woodlands, TX as soon as possible. With the help of sleep dentistry, our periodontist may recommend an oral appliance or mouthpiece to help with your sleep apnea symptoms.
What Are the Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?
There are a number of symptoms that could indicate that you suffer from sleep apnea. The most common is snoring, which can be an indication that your airway is partially obstructed throughout the night, and there could be a lack of oxygen reaching the brain. Other symptoms include restless sleep, waking up briefly in the middle of the night, morning drowsiness, and fatigue throughout the day. You could also be suffering from headaches or dry mouth from breathing with your mouth open during the night. In some cases, you could also experience memory and concentration problems, mood alteration, and depression. If you know that you are suffering from these symptoms and suspect that you may be suffering from sleep apnea, it is best to speak to your dentist or sleep specialist as soon as possible about it.
How Is Sleep Apnea Diagnosed?
Your dentist can rule out other sleep disorders before diagnosing you with sleep apnea. However, if your dentist suspects you suffer from sleep apnea, they may refer you to a specialist for a sleep study. This study can be done in a sleep lab or at home. The specialist will record your sleep behavior overnight and diagnose you with sleep apnea based on the results.
How Can Sleep Dentistry Treat Sleep Apnea?
If you are diagnosed with sleep apnea, your dentist will be able to recommend treatment based on your unique case. Treatment options can include an oral appliance or an in-office procedure. An oral device can help prevent airways from closing while you sleep. It may also help patients breathe easier throughout the night.
In severe cases of obstructive sleep apnea, an in-office procedure may be necessary. These procedures are done under local anesthesia. They include:
Mandibular repositioning devices: These appliances help to reposition the jaw forward to open up your airway. The device is worn in the mouth at night while the patient sleeps. It is recommended patients wear the device for several months to a year to achieve optimal results. - Tongue retaining devices – These devices also work to correct the position of the tongue during sleep. This is typically done in conjunction with a mandibular repositioning device.
Nasal CPAP machines: Many patients with severe cases of sleep apnea have been prescribed this therapy. Patients wear a nasal mask that is connected to a machine that blows pressurized air into the nose to keep the airways open. This is commonly used as a long-term treatment option for sleep apnea.
Maxillomandibular advancement surgery: This procedure provides patients with a long-term solution for severe, chronic sleep apnea. During the surgery, a surgeon surgically moves the upper and lower jaws forward to create more space in the airway.
For the best dental care, visit Dental Specialists & Implant Center at The Woodlands at 3117 College Park Dr #230, The Woodlands, TX, or call (936) 231-8937.